From August 2007...
Now, before you run for the telephone to call the ACLU...I wasn't referring to "ethnic diversity," or the "melting pot" that America has become (along with Canada, England, France, and a host of other countries).
No...I am talking about the daily deluge of decisions....the profusion of preferences...the superfluity of selections...TOO MANY CHOICES!!!!!
This concept hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday at the grocery store. Now normally I purchase my pantyhose in a clothing store, but since that requires a trip to the clothing store and requires a bit more money than the "discount" brands, I decided to pick some up along with the ground beef, veggies, cat food, and the rest of the list. First I had to find them. This wasn't as easy as it sounds. (I never did figure out where they keep the Wet Ones...but that's another story.) I finally located the pantyhose.
Now I haven't bought pantyhose in a grocery store for donkey's years but it used to be a fairly straight-forward process. Suntan (or tan - never nude or beige!), Queen sized (yes, I'm still a "Q" but on my way toward "Regular"), reinforced toe.
Simple, easy to remember...right? Wrong. There were "silky sheer," " all-day energizing," "control top," "sheer to the waist," "nude toe" in every combination possible. Unfortunately, amid this veritable plethora of choices I could not, for the life of me, find SUNTAN REINFORCED TOE IN SIZE "Q"...!!!
I literally stood in front of the display for fifteen minutes. It didn't help that the store employees didn't keep things neat and tidy, there seemed to be no rhyme nor reason to how they were placed...or else customers spent lots of quality time re-arranging things. (I actually suspect it's both.)
I finally found two pair that worked, and tossed them into the shopping cart. But it got me thinking. I've asserted for years that MacDonalds has really blown it. I used to like MacDonalds. MacDonalds was easy. Hamburger. Cheeseburger. Filet-O-Fish. Fries. Cokes. Milkshakes. Apple Pie. Simple. Easy to remember.
Now they've got salads, parfaits, chicken, riblets, Quarter Pounders, Big Macs, chicken MacNuggets....and don't even get me started on breakfast.
Oh yes, it sounds wonderful on the surface. So many choices. You can eat there every day, every meal, for a month and probably never have the exact same meal twice. But what they've sacrificed is speed and quality. (Okay, they were never considered a four-star eating establishment...but you see where I'm going with this, don't you?)
The phrase "Jack of all trades, master at none" springs to mind. It's trite, perhaps well-worn. But it's well-worn because it works and it's true.
And you can say the same thing for Burger King and Wendy's and any other formerly "fast food" restaurant you want. Same thing.
When I was a little girl there used to be three channels. (Only THREE, you gasp?) Yep. ABC, NBC and CBS. Now they have at least three hundred (I can't get them all because I can't afford the deluxe ComCast package.) But even so, I do have access to at least a hundred. And how many times a month do I surf through the channels, using the handy little on-line guide and discover...there's nothing on TV??? Too many times to count, sadly.
It seems today, that when we diversify too much, we lose the focus that creates the quality.
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