Sunday, 6 April 2014
Constant Craving for Choice
My mother says she can no longer send my father to the grocery store, and not because he is now in his mid-eighties. It is because of the confounding array of items on the shelves and the way they continue to expand. Take salt, for example. I have two kinds right here in my tiny larder- kosher and plain table salt. Daughter is "into" salts and keeps the little salt pig pictured above beside her stovetop where she stows her latest favourite salt. Our notion of even something as basic as salt is changing. One time salt was just simply the ordinary Windsor boxed iodized white stuff, now there are salts available from many countries, some prettily coloured in hues of pink or green.
I'm picking on salt but the same can be said of most things in the grocery store these days and hence my father's confusion ...look for tea, mustard, cereal, yoghurt, tomato soup, etc. and you will be faced with a dizzying array of options.
Perhaps I'm aware of this more so because of where I come from. It was a place where fish was always cod and only cod. Cheese was always the hard, orange cheddar cheese. Tea was Red Rose; mustard would be the bright yellow French's. This was most practical and trim-lined and grocery stores only needed to be the size of garages, not warehouses like today. You could send a child to do your grocery shopping in those days, if you had a mind to.
I guess I'm a part of it too; it seems to be that all my folk are craving and demanding more and more choice and merchants are only too eager to satisfy those demands. But where will it end? Just how big will grocery stores have to become...one wonders.