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will that be large, extra large or super size?


will that be large, extra large or super size?

I stared at the ceiling for a long time last night, and again when it passed night and became morning and the ceiling still looked the same. I layed there and I wondered about everything and nothing and all the stuff in between.

I got up and stared at the ceiling in the living room and it didn't really change things except for the view, which was now eggshell white instead of plain old white. Or maybe it's antique white. It's one of those. Bob Ross used to use titanium white all the time and I liked that one even though it looked like all the other whites to me. It had a cool name. How many shades of white are there, anyhow? More importantly, how many do we really need?

When did we become innundated with all these choices? This is such a hard world for someone like me who needs 40 days and 3 notepads just to make a decision on what to wear to a dinner. When people talk about the simpler days, I think what they are referring to is not a lifestyle or underlying currents of war and bad politics. What they are talking about is the choices before us.

I used to go to the store to buy cigarettes for my dad, back when kids could throw a fistful of change at the man behind the counter and he would give you cigarettes, no questions asked. They were 45 cents a pack at the time and I think there were 3 choices in the glass cabinet. Lucky Strikes, Camels and some dainty cigarette made for women.

Even when I got older and started smoking myself, and cigarettes were 75 cents, the choices were relatively simple. Parlaiment, Marlboro, a couple of menthol flavored. Now you need a guide map to buy a pack of smokes. You can't just walk into a store and say "Marlboros, please" because the clerk will stand there and wait for you to say something else. You must clarify. Hard pack, soft pack? Lights, regular? Menthol, non menthol? Ultra lights or regular lights? Special Turkish delight flavored smoke? And don't forget you can get the same smoking effect in 200 different brands of no-frill cigarettes.

Have you tried buying gum lately? It used to be Bazooka. On the counter, in a bucket, a penny a piece. You got a chunk of hard pink gum and a comic. Then came Bubblelicious and Yum-Yum and a million goofy flavors. Strawberry, lemonade, grape, cola, rooty tooty fruity, steak and potato.....and that's all before the sugarless gum that either freshens your breath or cleans your teeth or both at the same time. Some of them may even taste good.

Ketchup? Whoever thought there would be choices in ketchup? The only real choice was plastic or glass. Now, there's flavored kethcup. Smokey mountain flavor or barbeque flavor or mesquite or honey. And colors. Green and purple, with teal and pink to follow. Why? Why in the world do we need so many choices over one condiment? Does your burger need to be pretty as well as tasty? Do we really need to give kids a reason to play with their food? Then there's milk. 1%, 2%, skim, lactaid. Chips. With salt, without salt, baked, cripsy, cheese flavored, jalapeno flavored. Coffee. Decaf, caffeine, half decaf, roasted, columbian, breakfast blend, amaretto, irish cream....just give me a goddamn cup of coffee!

Have you bought tampons recently? How many choices do I really need in a tampon? Did you know they come in sizes? Super, extra super, super duper for the heavy flow nights and teeny tiny for those days when you aren't sure whether your period is still around or not. Don't forget to pick up the panty shields while you are down that aisle. Just make a quick decision between the winged and not winged and the ones that smell like baby powder or the ones that smell like a fresh summer breeze or the individually wrapped or not wrapped but powder free. After making those choices, I can barely get through the shampoo and deodorant aisle.

Help. I don't want to make any more decisions than necessary. I want to pull into the gas station and not have to wrack my brain trying to figure out what pump to go to. I want to walk into the bagel store and not be assaulted with 15 brand new flavors of bagels. Who the hell thought of a chocolate cheesecake bagel? I want to go to the supermarket and see one brand for everything I need. I'd even settle for two. It shouldn't have to hurt my brain to pick out a cereal or video card or a box of freaking crayons. Hell, I can't even figure out where to go out for dinner anymore because there's too many restaurants to choose from. I want a simple life. I don't want to make any more decisions than are necessary to move about my day in relative ease. I don't want to get a headache and then have to figure out whether I want a Tylenol or an Excedrin Migraine or and Advil.

Now, what kind of file do I want to save this as? Word for Windows, rich text, wordperfect 6, or 7....


Know what's the only thing worse for an anxiety-riddled man buying tampons for the first time ever?

Having to return them because he bought the wrong ones! AAARRGGHH! How can there be wrong tampons?! What do you mean the pink box? They're all pink!!

Too many tampon choices. Yep, I've felt this pain. Although after this episode my tamponophobia mysteriously disappeared... maybe all guys should be required to return a box of tampons once in their life.

I used to work in a supermarket. Around 9PM they would begin to trickle in. Lone men with messy hair, looking like they just changed out of their pajamas into whatever clothes were on the back of the chair. They would line up with only two items: ice cream, tampons.

GREAT post Michele.
I feel the same way. Too many god damned choices out there. It's rediculous...

and Pink Ketchup...that just isn't right. eesh...

Thanks for the chuckle...that really was a great post..


Is it any wonder its so difficult to redesign for you?

Considering we have all these choices and options in trivial things like condiments, how is it possible that there only seems to be one standard model of politician?

with hand over heart
It's the American way.
takes off G.W. Bush mask and scuttles away

I like having choices, having grown up hearing stories about the Soviet Union, where the stores had empty shelves, but when stocked had only one brand of toilet paper, or one kind of bread. However, it seems we're often faced with making choices between different flavors of vanilla. Few of the choices have much consequence attached. Food at Denny's tastes the same as food at IHOP which tastes the same as Carrow's, and Lyons, and Applebees. But there's this great hole in the wall down the street that serves some excellent Mexican food. One can get an incredible meal for $5. It took me a while to find it, but now my choices are easier. 5 chains vs. 1 unique place. No sweat.

Bad information within choices - well at least we're keeping marketers employed. Coffee at Pete's: Med, Large, X-Large. Translation: Small, Medium, Large. 10 brands of "cholesterol free!" cereal, when all you want is "normal" cereal. Oh duh, cereal is made from plants (hopefully). Plants don't have cholesterol (unlike animals which turn to sticks of butter at room temp.) Picking out the regular stuff from the "Fat Free!" stuff. Buying liquid hand soap the other day, there were 15 brands - all were antibacterial (containing an antibiotic). No regular hand soap available. The choice became meaningless. Marketing pressure over practicality.

Paused briefly this morning at the grocery store to look at the Wheat Thins. There's now regular (or perhaps I should say "original"), reduced fat, multi-grain (uh, doesn't that make them NOT Wheat Thins any more?), Ranch-flavored, large-sized (for dipping)...

Art geek answer for you about the paint colours: Store acrylics for walls and whatnot are generally given descriptive names that will make yuppies redesigning their homes bristle with pride and pseudo knowledge. Art paints are given names by what chemicals are used to make them: Titanium white having titanium, cadmiums yellow and red having cadmium, and so forth. Occasionally they give them names based on where the original chemicals came from. But by and large, you are supposed to have a basic set of colours, and mix all the other colours from those ones. The average artist doesn't need any white beyond titanium white (which is a nice pure white) because they can mix all variations if they have to. But because the average yuppie is going to pay some guy who is really good with a long handled brush (but who might not mix colours consistently) they get some designer paint company to tell them that colour 1357 is really "sage bisque" or something like that. (That would be a faintly greenish white.)

Just stumbled across this, mid-Wheat Thins post, and thought it was germane: Plenitude (http://www.cultureby.com/plenit/), "an attempt to understand the innovation taking place in contemporary culture." It's a whole book online, so take it slowly.

I can absolutely identify with Chad's post. I always forget what brand I'm supposed to pick up, but that's why the goddess made cell phones.

great post :) an american friend of mine told me recently that you can now get plus size panty liners over there. For The Crotch With More.

I am happy to say I have never bought tampons.

Speaking of choices of milk, here in Canada we have something called 'Homo'. It's what you call 'Whole Milk' down there in the Great Satan, but I can't imagine living in a country where I couldn't say, "Ah, nothing like a little homo in your coffee while you're sucking on the butt of a fag."

Thanks, Mark. Think I'll try that one at work today.

WordPerfect? Hello, 1994 . . .
Oh yeah, you work in the legal field.
A friend of mine here in Dallas works in the marketing department at Frito-Lay and is in charge of hellping come up with new flavours and types of chips and crap to test market. Is that like the best job in the world or what???
(I can see calling in sick - "sorry, I won't be in today. I ran out of weed.")

I don't care what year it is, Charles. I would never use anything besides WordPerfect. Please don't tell me you use Word...

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