The Plethora of Choices is Overwhelming


When we were growing up there was only one type of Oreo cookie, the original. You enjoyed it in milk, pulled it apart and ate the insides first, or you stuffed it in your mouth and savored the crunchy, sweet delight. In the grocery store I noticed that Oreo has eight shelves full of varieties. Everything from double stuff to lemon, birthday cake flavored to halloween colored. I stood there stunned, astounded and overwhelmed all at the same time. Sooooo many choices, toooo many choices, and not enough time to try each and every one. I had to look hard to find my favorite.

I understand the beauty of having choices. I totally get it that we live in a world where one cookie can have so many options that it takes up eight shelves that are twenty feet long. I think it is awesome that anyone could think of all these options for a simple cookie, which is the by the way the best selling cookie in America. Yet I stood in front of all these choices and thought about a younger me shopping at the grocery store with my Mom and brothers. That little girl would have had no idea which one to choose and would have gotten pretty overwhelmed by all the choices. Would I miss out if I only chose the original version? What would I be missing if I didn’t try the double stuff kind? Would Halloween be ruined if I only ate cookies with white cream centers? All the options and all the decisions would leave that cookie loving kid a bit paralyzed.

In this global economy we have more choices than any human being can decipher. We can choose anything from almost anywhere and have it delivered to our door. It can be very all consuming to try and figure out the best choice with a built in fear of missing out by not having more than one to select. Only one, only one, only one? And if we are able to choose more than one how much will we weigh if we eat every option available? No one can eat their way through all these cookies and not end up in a sugar coma. It is staggering and confusing, joyous and a dilemna all at the same time. Whew, I am tried just looking at the options.

We wonder why younger generations have a hard time making decisions. With all the options before them who can blame them for not choosing. Have we done them a disservice by giving them too many choices, too much commercialism, too many things to review to make a simple choice of which Oreo to eat? And if they choose wrong, what are they missing? Do they realize no one can choose everything so you have to forego something in order to keep moving forward? You have to know what is important to you in order to make the right choice for you. Wow! I feel for the youth who stand before this aisle wanting to try an Oreo; so many choices so little time to choose. And if they don’t know what to choose they may choose nothing and miss the joy of eating the creamy insides first.

I write this after eating many double stuff Oreo cookies, hoping that no child leaves this aisle helpless and confused after so many choices. If asked which one to choose, I would always default to the original. Start there, learn to love it, then work your way up to the mint flavored for the holidays. Maybe what they need are fewer choices and more guidance on how to succeed. Maybe they need to know what they want before they can choose…and of course a cold glass of milk to eat another cookie while they learn better decision making skills.

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