Pro Fewer Choices
by Mad Dog
Pepsi Shiso is the new basil flavored cola they’ve just
released. Seriously. What next, Tuna Sprite? Pesto Dr. Pepper? Broccoli
||If there’s one thing the
world doesn’t need, it’s another Coca Cola. As if Coke, Coke II,
caffeine-free Coke, Coke zero, Coca-Cola Blak, Coca-Cola C2, Coca-Cola
Citra, Cherry, Cherry Vanilla, Lime, Raspberry, and the diet version of
each of these weren’t enough, now you can sip a lovely, relaxing Green
Tea Coca Cola. It kind of makes you yearn for the return of New Coke,
It’s true that if you want to pick
up a six-pack of refreshing Green Tea Coke you need to go to Japan—at
least for now—but hey, can anywhere be too far to go to purchase
something that doesn’t exist in nature for a good reason?
If you do decide to go though, be sure to pick up a can of Pepsi
Shiso while you’re there. That’s the new basil flavored cola
they’ve just released. Seriously. What next, Tuna Sprite? Pesto Dr.
Pepper? Broccoli Nehi?
Honestly, do we really need more
choices? Back in the good old days—which is defined as the time before
the Jonas Brothers were a twinkle in their father’s
Stratocaster—cars, telephones, Coke, and even Oreos came in one form
and one form only. Henry Ford reputedly said about the Model T, “The
customer can have any color he wants so long as it's black.” Now you
can get a car in almost any color you can dream up, without regard for
taste or how embarrassed the neighbors will be when it’s parked in
front of the house. And Oreos? There are at least 17 types now,
including peanut butter, mint, yellow cookie, fudge covered, white fudge
covered, double crème, and the affirmative action role-reversed version
that has white cookies and chocolate crème, the favorite of liberals
everywhere. Good luck finding a regular old Oreo. If you really want one
I’d recommend buying some Oreo Cookie ice cream and supergluing the
It won’t be long before you can take home a jar of decaf
shade grown fair trade free-range dolphin-safe soy mayonnaise. Okay, you
probably already can at Whole Foods.
|| All these
choices make it difficult not only to decide what you want, but to
actually make it home with the right thing. Once upon a time there was
mayonnaise. You went to the store, you chose which brand you liked, you
went home and made egg salad. Life was simple. Now there’s regular,
light, fat-free, olive oil, canola, with lime juice, and with mustard.
Three kinds of mustard no less. It won’t be long before you can take
home a jar of decaf shade grown fair trade free-range dolphin-safe soy
mayonnaise. Okay, you probably already can at Whole Foods, but even then
you’ll need to decide whether you want a small, medium, large, or
movie popcorn tub size jar. Come to think of it, I’ll stick with
ketchup, thank you.
For reasons best known to the
companies’ marketing departments, the labels of a line of products
stays the same, with the variant printed in tiny, unobtrusive letters
using invisible ink. At least half the time I get home and discover I
accidentally bought fat-free low-sodium anchovy-flavored cream cheese by
mistake. Since it’s not worth my time to take it back, and it sure
isn’t worth sacrificing my mental well being by eating it, I throw it
out. (Here’s a handy shopping tip: Look for the word “original” on
the package. It won’t be prominent, and you’ll pick up four other
kinds before you find it, but that lets you know it’s the real stuff.)
rule, much like don’t drink a cocktail that comes in a hollowed out
fruit, ignore any voicemail that begins “This is an important
announcement,” and don’t confuse being pulled over by a cop for
speeding with Open Mike Night at Funny Bonz.
Restaurants are another place where we’re getting too many
choices. A menu shouldn’t be as long as a Stephen King novel. Of
course neither should a Stephen King novel, but since I don’t need to
read The Stand before I can eat dinner I’m not concerned about
it. Simply put, I don’t want to spend more time reading a menu than it
will take me to eat my dinner. It’s a personal rule, much like don’t
drink a cocktail that comes in a hollowed out fruit, ignore any
voicemail that begins “This is an important announcement,” and
don’t confuse being pulled over by a cop for speeding with Open Mike
Night at Funny Bonz.
I have enough trouble deciding what
type of restaurant I want to eat at, don’t make the waitperson have to
come back a fifth time to take my order because my head is swimming with
choices and I end up asking for a hamburger since it’s the only thing
that pops through the menu-induced stupor. Then when the waiter asks if
I want a quarter-pound, third-pound or half-pound burger, regular,
teriyaki, turkey or vegetarian, please take me by the hand and lead me
to a place that only serves one thing, one size, one way. You know, like
There’s really only one place where
we could use more choices—elections. We get two choices, three if
we’re lucky and don’t care about the quality of the third candidate.
And more often than not there’s really not much of a choice to be had.
Why can’t elections be more like Cokes, and Cokes more like elections?
And while we’re at it, can we trim things back so there are only, say,
sixteen kinds of Oreos?
©2009 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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