Yesterday when I went to Target to buy deodorant, I thought about my husband’s cousin who’d visited us from Germany a few years ago. I’d taken her with me on a routine trip to the grocery store, figuring she’d enjoy a slice right out of our all-American life.
As we strolled down the packaged cheese aisle, her eyes went wide and she said, “How do you choose?”
I was surprised by her reaction. “Why? Don’t you have a lot to pick from in the grocery stores in Germany?”
Her gaze drifted away from the numerous selections of low-fat, no-fat, yes-fat, sharp, mild, medium, aged, “real”, shredded, blocked, yellow, white, single slice, *deep breath* extra sharp, crumbled, individual-sized packaging, extra large blocks, sticks, etc…. all hanging off pegs or stored on the refrigerated shelves below them. “Nein. Not this many.”
I’d almost chalk it up to a fluke, but my daughter is currently in graduate school studying international relations with several students from out of the country. She took them to a grocery store in upstate New York and told me, “I had to explain to one guy what all the choices were.”
I increasingly find myself overwhelmed when I go to purchase items that I’ve bought for years without a problem. The Target trip that took me down this path was an attempt to buy Secret Power Fresh deodorant,which is what I’ve used since the 1980’s. Yet for some reason yesterday, I saw everything BUT Secret Powder Fresh.
And it’s not just the deodorant. Shampoo, oatmeal, peanut butter, orange juice, pasta, ice cream–you name it…if it’s not fresh, it’s been transformed into some variation of the real deal. Oh dear lord, I almost forgot toothpaste! You can’t even send your husband to the store and say, “Pick up some Crest” without getting a call home asking which one he should get.
So I ask you, is it me or are the sheer number of choices out there completely out of control?