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Multiple choice in the Land of Plenty

March 29, 2017
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

When you take a long look back over your life, you realize everything has been determined by the choices you've made along the way. And, through the years, the number and significance of the choices becomes ever more challenging.

There are the big choices, of course..what career will you follow, where will you live, who will be your partner.and on and on.

But, in addition to the major decisions, every day each of us is confronted by choices about the basic stuff of life. That includes both big and little-ticket items.

For example, anyone who has looked into the new car market knows first-hand the dizzying number of automobile manufacturers vying for the attention of the buying public.

Whether the choice comes down to a Chevy or a Cadillac, a VW or a Volvo, the next step is to decide on the type of vehicle. Will it be a van or an SUV? A pick-up or a convertible?

And, once the type is selected, the choices still go on.

The new-car buyer is faced with a head-spinning range of options from a palette of colors that challenges the rainbow to up-grades enough to delight any gadget geek. Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Another area sure to overwhelm the average shopper is the appliance center. Today's refrigerators, stoves, televisions, washers..even toasters and microwaves.are available in a multitude of styles, sizes and price ranges. It's enough to boggle the buyer's mind.

But for most of us, cars and appliances are rare investments. When it comes to choice challenges, there's no doubt that today a visit to the supermarket provides the ultimate eeny-meeny-miney-moe experience.

During my last trip to the grocery, I took the time to study a few of the areas where multiple selections battle for every shopper's attention.

In the meat department, I was amazed that the old breakfast staple, bacon, was offered in 26 different brands. The variety included thick bacon, thin bacon, Canadian bacon, and the newest addition, a sort of pseudo-bacon made from turkey or chicken.

In the paper goods aisle, the race for space was daunting. Shelves were packed with a dozen separate brands of toilet tissue. Each maker offered his bathroom product in up to five different kinds of packaging, making comparison shopping almost impossible.

Another entire section of the store was devoted to that once-simple necessity of life, water. In addition to a dozen different lines, each brand boasted it's own water "variety," including such titles as lightly flavored, spring water, mountain crystal and on and on. The choice in sizes ranged from four, six and eight-ounce bottles to refrigerator dispensers.

The same profusion of products continued throughout the sprawling store. One whole aisle was devoted to more than a dozen bread choices. The same was true for canned goods, cereals, cleaning supplies, food storage options, even mouth wash.

By the time I wheeled my shopping cart to the checkout, I had once again realized what an amazing multiple-choice country we live in.

Without a doubt, America is the "land of plenty".and then some.



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