Less choice = Less competition

I got some great responses on Tuesday to my post on having more respect for one’s diminished possessions. There were several comments that really stood out but these words from Ideealistin related well to something I had put in the donation box just the day before.

Here are Ideealistins words –

Using your stuff gives it great value. But I think it is amazing how not storing the stuff you use next to unused stuff, throwing your mind into constant competition mode, adds almost even more value.

Now for how this relates to my decluttered item. I had two pair of white shorts in my drawer. One pair I really liked the cut, style and fabric of while the other pair although functional were a little bit grannyish because they have elastic in the back.

So which pair do you think gets used the most and which pair do you think found their way to the donation box.

Well here is the twist, the pair I like the cut, style and fabric of have really never fitted me properly. I bought them about six years ago and have probably worn then twice. I have, I suppose kept them all this time thinking that maybe one day they would fit me. Who aspires to getting fatter, not me so I figured it was time I faced reality and admitted these were not the shorts for me. They will no doubt be a great find for someone shopping the thrift store this week.

The other pair of shorts are being worn by me as I write this post. They are comfortable, they look nice enough and the granny elastic isn’t visible because my shirt covers it. Perhaps now I will wear this pair more often because they are no longer competing with the pair that I couldn’t really wear but preferred.

It seems my disappointment over my preferred pair of shorts was tainting my opinion of the other truly more useful-to-me pair. I am sure I will now choose to wear this pair more often.

I used to think being “Spoilt for choice” only meant having lots to choose from now I think this definition from The Free Dictionary by Farlex explains the situation better…

  • be spoilt for choice  (mainly Britishalso be spoiled for choice (mainly American) ~ to have so many good possible choices that it is difficult to make a decision ~ With 51 flavours of ice-cream to choose from you are spoiled for choice.

And this is just one more reason why living life with less is simpler.

Today’s Declutter Item

You may wonder why the shorts mentioned above are not being featured as the item for today. I have added two dresses to my wardrobe this summer so I am considering one of those as a trade off for these shorts. This jacket however was just a piece of my old working wardrobe that really needed to go. It lasted about half an hour before someone bought it at the thrift store.

One black jacket excess to my needs

Something I Am Grateful For Today

The imagination my butcher shop puts into making sausages. We are having lamb, mustard and basil flavoured ones for dinner tonight. I hope they taste as good as they sound.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


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  • Day 84 Read posts and blogs It can be very helpful to read about other peoples experiences with de-cluttering their homes. There are so many helpful tips out there on the big Wide World Web and I will explore more of […]
  • These are only so many hours in the day We all know there are only so many hours in the day. How many of them do you want to spend… ...looking for things you need but can't find among your excess stuff. ...looking for […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Again a very thought provoking post. I do think about the things I don’t want to keep but still do keep more than the things I really like. Off to ponder this more.

  2. In the back of our minds, it is hard to just realize that the pounds aren’t coming off as quickly as we like, so we don’t need to save the nice clothes that don’t fit our body any more. If the pounds did come off some day, then celebrate by buying something that fits and looks nice. I think we just don’t want to spend the money when there is something that might fit in the future and save you the money. Instead of living in the past and the future (where we will fit into the clothes that are too tight), we should just live in the present and make the most of it and take care of ourselves. I have a couple of expensive dresses that I haven’t given up yet. They are the only things I own that don’t quite fit me. I have given myself 6 months and if they don’t fit by then, I need to let go of them. It will motivate me to be wise about what I eat by setting a limit of how long they can stay.

  3. wow. this one will make me think…

  4. Spoilt for choice? Ahhoy mattey, no matter how many flavors or toppings, it is ALWAYS ALWAYS chocolate chip. Always.

    Ok, so I honestly say it is ‘sometimes’ MINT chocolate chip; however, the basic for me is chocolate chip. I don’t even SEE all the other flavors in the display. It’s like I’ve radar only for, yup, chocolate chip.

    Oh to even THINK of eating ice cream right now, or WEARING shorts! Temps are in the minus zone. Ok you folks down under, send warm thoughts my way (aka: Germany).

    • What are you still doing in Germany Annabelle. I thought you left there a month or two ago. Are you frozen in place? Am I bonkers?

    • Hey Annabelle,
      ice cream is fine in winter the house is heated isn’t it. 😆 You should try the Burnt Fig and Honey one we buy, mmm mmmmmm. Although I am a sucker of Rocky Road. And when it comes to gelato in italy I nearly always have Cioccolata e Fragola (that’s Chocolate & strawberry).

      If I sent you my weather Annabelle all you would have is rain. Better to be cold and dry.

  5. This is making me think … I know that I keep several of many things but most of the time only use the “good” one. And if the good one broke/tore or otherwise had to be discarded, I wouldn’t resort to the second- or third-best, I’d go get another “good” one. Sounds like a prime area for decluttering in my house!

    • Thanks exactly right Jo. Although some seconds I wouldn’t declutter just for the sake of it and if I had to resort to them due to breakage I would probably give myself time to adjust to them. But if I don’t like it I think I would do just as you say and replace it with the kind I like. Therefore the third best would certainly be out of here.

  6. I had the same experience in many areas. Most enlightning was trying “Project 333” on my wardrobe for a while.
    Even though I limited my wardrobe to only 33 pieces, there were still so many things left within those 33 items that just didn’t happen to be worn. They fit, they’re pretty and in good condition. They’re just not quite as comfy/pretty as the other options.
    Really helped me a lot in decluttering my wardrobe.

    • My wardrobe is decluttering itself through natural progression lately and I can’t say I am having a hard time trying to find something to wear. I might have to start ironing the cotton dresses more frequently but that OK.

  7. HIgh five to this idea! another reason I’m OK with shopping at my local IGA over Coles (that’s a drive away). Less choice. Sure sometimes they DON’T have something I want, but mostly I can get everything I need between them and the grocer!

    Choice scares me sometimes, like meals, which is why if I go out for a work day lunch, I always have the same thing. Saves time and stress, working out whether I’d like something more, whether it’ll be worth it, etc etc.

    • I can relate to this Snosie. When I do my day at the thrift store I have a hamburger from the cafe next door every time. It’s easy, she sees me coming she asks “Hamburger?” I say “Yes” and give her the $5 and all is well.

      • It’s nice to be known too! Got that with weekend coffees, but not at my chain lunch place sadly, too many staff! Actually, having a ‘usual’ order was one of my goals/bucket list things when I wrote one in year 12! So far, it’s happened a few times in life! I even meal plan once a week, so only one time to ‘think’ about what I want to eat for dinners all week.

        • Oh boy do I miss shopping at IGA (back when I lived in Texas). Choice was limited & it didn’t occur to me that that was a hindrance or a negative either. I managed to feed my family (for less I might add) & shopping sure went quicker. Now I shop at a Publix & a Super WalMart & both stores take me f.o.r.e.v.e.r to get though. Drives me nuts.

          • Listening to you and Snosie has got me pondering about large store shopping verses small store shopping. Although I am doing more of the small store shopping these days it is true that I go to the bigger stores as well for the larger range. Perhaps that is just a waste of my time.

    • This is exactly why I like Aldi – only 2 choices to make for just about everything – cheap or cheaper! When I have to go into Coles or Woolies for the vegetarian stuff or specialty things it takes me FOREVER just to find them. What a waste of time, especially when you know they change things around all the time just to confuse you and keep you in there longer in the hope you will buy more.

      • And don’t you like the way they put the milk and bread at the back of the store so you have to go past everything else you don’t want to get it. Well I fooled them because I buy fresh pasteurised (not homogenised) milk straight from the dairy at a cafe near my house. It may be dearer but it does taste good with all that creamy goodness floating on the top.

  8. Wow, apparently my decluttered thought aka rambling I freecycled here yesterday found some happy takers 😉
    If I wasn’t half way around the earth I would pat you on the shoulder, Colleen, for gathering this communicative crowd. I think it is so great to read the comments from all the different perspectives, ages and countries. It is always encouraging and often thought provoking to read how others work their way out of the clutter and the mindtraps that come with it and/or lead to it. I read other blogs, too, but this is the only one I regularly comment on because it feels like it is leading to something. For me, for others – and maybe for me in return because thoughts are grabbed, spun, twisted … (yeah, I’m selfish like that 😉 I love learning)

  9. THAT is one of the main reasons I wanted to move out of the city! Too much choice in everything, from schools to cafes, to things to do on the weekend. Less choice = less stress.

    As for the clothes, I used to be the person who owned 10 pairs of black pants and only wore 1 pair. Now I own 3 pairs (1 ‘good’, 1 cargo and 1 lycra/workout) and wear them all the time.

  10. OMG will everyone please stop reminding me of my AWFUL PAST!!!! Choices choices choices!!! Hahahahahaha well say hello to Mrs ‘I have so many choices I can’t choose’!!! Well at least I was! Loretta made me laugh with 10 pairs of black pants, back when I worked full time I would have called you a ‘Minimalist’ then!! From memory I had probably had close to 35 prs of black, (not going into other colours) ranging through the really good, work and casual, I won’t include others, I won’t divulge how many blouses, skirts, jumpers and jackets hahaha, but shoes! OMG the shoes, even my hubby would say nice pr of black shoes, they go with your other 73prs of black shoes!!! Don’t get me started on jeans, jeans were always an achilles heel, but hey I never murdered anyone but I reckon if they stepped in my wardrobe and it fell I couldn’t guarantee their on going health! The less choice the better, I can actually shop in under 15mins if I’m after something in a variety store. Food shopping takes about 20 mins the longest I am in the shop these days is because I may be queuing and I will admit I start to get twitchy and want to run screaming from the shop. To quote one of your readers ‘I has changed my brain’ and I love it and I love ME & MINE MORE & MORE!!

    ‘I can see clearly now the CRAP is gone’ well still going but you get the idea.

    Love and less choices to all 🙂 🙂 🙂 (if that is what you want)

    • You are scaring me now Dizzy. I think I would probably have gone insane with that much choice. There have been times where I wasn’t far off it anyway but that is another story. 😆 You are making me sound like I was a minimalist before I even began this mission with what you say about how much was in your wardrobe. You must really be enjoying you newfound freedom from choice.

      • Hahaha you betcha chicky, I so love looking in my huge WIR and picking a top from a pile of 8 and a pr of jeans from a pile of 5, I may wash clothes a little more often but I’ll sort that too. Everybody in the house has had a wardrobe purge and most stuff can be washed together so fewer wash loads will be done. I need to go through the underwear drawer again, I may need to make a purchase but I will buy what I need and get out. I’m actually twitching thinking about it heehee!

        Today I got rid of another 900+ photos and two bags of clothes and odds + sods. Man I think the more I de-clutter the more I find What the!!

        Cheers 🙂 😉

        • You have been busy Dizzy. And you are so right the more you declutter the more you find. Its not that the stuff is multiplying behind our backs it’s just that we didn’t realise to begin with that we had such a ridiculous amount of it in the first place.

  11. Choice. There’s definitely no lack of it here in the U.S. Being confronted with 200+ breakfast cereals (I should count ’em some day!) or 80 varieties of shampoo (at least!) can be anxiety-causing and time wasting. Going into a mega store eats up the lion’s share of my “alone time” while my daughter is in preschool. I’d rather zip through a smaller shop and use the rest of my time doing other things.

    By the way, I love practical posts like this. Please keep them coming!

    • Just reading what you wrote here makes me cringe. Which is a bit turn around for me because I thought I was in shopping heaven when I lived in America and through I had had my throat cut when I returned to our lack of choice (in comparison) in Australia. Now like you I realise I have better things to do with my time.

  12. oh, american mega supermarkets … I also remember how I used to be fascinated and thought it was so wonderful – but I was an exchange student then and just stood and stared while my host mother did the shopping. When I visited the US for vacation this year BF and I just were “Where the …. is …? ” ALL THE TIME!
    Some supermarkets round here are overwhelmingly big, too, and I totally gave up on them years ago after I got lost in a Walmart three times. I believe thing was set up to confuse people. I was a total mess when I got out, had not gotten half of what I wanted because I could not find the special items that made me go there, I had not gotten some things because the expiration dates were not very promising (totally overstocked) and I bought 10 (!) packs of haribo because it was a ridiculously good deal.
    These stores should have warning signs on their doors: „No one ever made it out of here in less than an hour” ;-(

    • Very well said, Ideealistin.
      I prefer small supermarkets as well and get the special items at little shops. (i.e. go to a tiny Russian shop to get buckwheat, to a little Asian one to get hand-made tofu and, Coconut milk or Soy Sauce, to the fish stand to get fresh fish and so on) It doesn’t take that much time. Actually, shopping in a small shop is a matter of 5minutes at most and I coordinate those speciality shopping trips with my other ways.

      American supermarkets are special though. I get big supermarkets around the world that just offer a broad variety, but in the US, there were lots of shelves filled with the exact same brand of chocolate or else. I really didn’t get, why you need a display of 500 packs of snickers. About 10-20 should be enough for the customer to notice that that store sells snickers, shouldn’t it? I really was annoyed when facing M&Ms from ground to ceiling or 1.000 packages of the exact same cornflakes. Really felt lost.

    • Ideealistin,
      it certainly is wise to know these stores back to front and only target the areas you want something from. Shopping really is a science in the US. In Australia you can usually get all you need at one grocery store and at the most reasonable price. When I lived in America, in order to get everything I needed at the best price I bought my spices at the drug store, the bulk of my groceries at Safeway, my cleaners and paper needs at Target and boxes of Ghirardelli brownie mix, ibuprofen, lindt chocolate and a few other items at Costco (I have never been big on buying in bulk with exception of chocolate). It made for a lot of running around.

      I can understand why you got your Haribo in bulk, yum. Actually I will probably bring back brownie mix and definitely ibuprofen from our trip to the US in April. I can get about 1000 ibuprofen there for the price I get 24 here in Australia.

    • Oh I love the part you wrote about “no one ever made it out of here in less than an hour”…and I have to add, “without spending AT LEAST $100″…

      one thing I’m sorta not looking forward to having to return home to…so I guess I’ll just try to NOT go into them…

      ??? well, nice thought from my old brain anyway (ha). 🙂

  13. Oh, Colleen, and I like how you put it:
    Freedom FROM choice
    Small but significant changes. That’s what it is about, isn’t it?
    I yesterday asked my mum on the phone if she wanted a book back that I had borrowed from her when we did a big book declutter over christmas or if I should declutter it for her.
    Mum: “Just declutter it.”
    Me: “Really? When I borrowed it you absolutely insisted on still wanting to read that one.”
    Mum: “Yeah. But that was a month ago. I think differently about it now. I am changing, you know?”
    Me: “!” (speechless but smiling :-))

  14. Colleen,
    actually the haribo was a BAD idea. With certain foods package open equals package empty for me and stocking up for future “needs”, well, you know … I can maybe fool myself again and again that this time the bulk candy will last for a long time. But my hips don’t lie … 😉
    I allow myself some stocking up on vacation with items I really can’t get otherwise (or at outrageous expense only … though this thinking can be a trap, too) but I try not to fall for bargains of things that I can get any time any place. 10 packs at half price is still more expensive than the one or two packs I should have eaten (if I must eat that junk at all but, yeah, I must. Sometimes.)
    I know that some people are disciplined and good and actually save money by stocking up when things are on sale. But I am afraid for me it mostly is a waste of money because I either eat more or forget about the stocked stuff altogether. The only thing I bargain hunt today is pasta and washing powder because in that field I prefer certain name brands, I know I certainly will use the stuff, it lasts practically forever and I’m not endangered to binge on either one 😉

    • That makes a whole lot of sense Ideealistin. I don’t like stocking up because I don’t like it cluttering up my cupboards. I do like to get a bargain on washing powder because sale prices are usually exceptionally cheaper. I just check the price whenever I am at the store and pick up my next pack cheap if it is on sale. But only the next pack because I know that by the time I am about due to but the next pack it will have gone on sale again and I can continually stay ahead of the game.

  15. Excellent post, Colleen! I love this kind, that really makes you think.
    I would like to say though, that freedom FROM choice is only pleasant if you CHOOSE to have it. How drear if what is available is not for you, whether we are speaking of material goods or other things.

  16. There are those that would argue that having lots of choices is progress & shows how far we have come from the Cold War days or even the days before intra-state & worldwide Panamax container shipping days.

    But having so many choices overwhelms me at best & frustrates me at the worst. OPI nailpolishes I swear comes out with 10 new colors every few weeks. Don’t they already have 75,679 shades now? Breakfast cereals have an entire aisle in our Super WalMart. An entire aisle!! Not a row or a shelf but aisle!! sheesh!
    Don’t EVEN get me started about mustard flavors, dog food & tortilla chips.

    • The insanity of it all Jane. And all so the retailer can try to grab a larger portion of the market. It certainly isn’t about customer convenience. The latest thing in these crazy days of choice that bugs me is the vast array of “eco-friendly” products, most of which are purely on the shelf once again so producers can grab their share of an ever growing market. You can tell how much they really care for the environment by the way they package these items. Makes you wonder if the “eco-friendly” product inside is even what they say it is. I want to buy eco-friendly I don’t want eco rip-off.

  17. I received Simplicity Parenting for Christmas and have been slowly making my way through (a 2 year old and a 6 week old don’t leave many extra hands!). I just finished the chapter on downsizing your kids toys and other paraphernalia. We don’t have a lot to start with but I packed up about half of my daughter’s toys and books. She never misssed them and plays with the three or four toys that are left out for hours rather than dumping them out and moving on. Great!
    I know too much choice makes me anxious! This probably explains why she has such a mealt down when we go to the grocery store – So many things to want!

    • Hi Bergen,
      now that you have decluttered her toys and she doesn’t mind, it would be a good idea to continue to keep the numbers low in this area. If having less is a normal situation that she grows up with perhaps she will be less likely to be greedy for things in adulthood.

      Let her have her meltdown at the grocery store, there isn’t much you can do about it. But don’t even give in to it because you will create a monster.

  18. I enjoyed this definition through your experience. I am so guilty of having too much of the things I love…mostly little things tucked away out of sight. That’s my clutter, and it does keep me from more often only choosing my favorite, also so I can justify keeping extras. Even though they are tiny, fountain pens, pretty paper etc, I will share them with the world and enjoy my top picks. I’ve found myself using the favorites now anyway. It won’t be painful to let go of the rest.

    • I think Angela that you will find you enjoy what is left all the more for not being overwhelmed by having too much.You wouldn’t be here if that weren’t the case.

  19. “It seems my disappointment over my preferred pair of shorts was tainting my opinion of the other truly more useful-to-me pair. I am sure I will now choose to wear this pair more often.”
    This post helped me so much! I have struggling with wanted to purge and just haven’ been able to decide— because everything I have is “good” and I have room to store it. But I don’t like having so much stuff. I have a closet full of clothes (all organized-ha-ha) but choosing makes me kind of crazed. This post finally explains to me why! I am now free to make the decisions I have to make. Purge all but the best, the “10’s.” Everything else can go. This is true for every thing; I have the same issue in the kitchen and dining room. Can’t wait to get started! Thank you so much. I love your blog.

    • Connie,
      I am so glad I could help you come to this conclusion. Being spoiled for choice really does just make it hard to come to decisions. All that clutter and choice makes life more difficult in many ways – choosing, sorting, wanting, cleaning, storing, shopping, affording… Life really is simpler with less and by wanting less.
      I look forward to hearing more about how your purging is going Connie so please stay in touch.

  20. ok, I said I would think. but somehow reading your comments made me realize I dont have that many choices. like I thought it were cups, because I tend to use only 3 for my daily coffee, but actually I use every single one for other hot drinks. then I thought: candleholders. not true. I do have favourites, but I use the others as well, so that doesnt make me want to pair down my things either.

    So what I ended up decluttering was a bag full of underwear. mostly because I am too small now (and I can tell you, it feels excellent to have underpants that are too large) and because I wore them for ages and I have prettier ones. and I will get myself new ones soon enough (in a smaller size, yaaay)

    if you girls say: use the good ones, I for sure will do that!

    and btw this is one of those posts where comments are the most valuable. I love this.

  21. Hello Colleen.
    I would just like to say thank you, your posts inspire me.
    I try to declutter at least one item every day, I have been doing so for ages.
    My daughter is always asking “what on earth have you got to declutter now ?, you will end up with an empty house”. But I am still finding things that I no longer need, want or have grown tired of.
    I am loving all the empty space and much less cleaning to do.
    We lived in a motorhome for over a year and it was fantastic, aim to do it again one day. That’s my aim or a tiny house.

    • Hi Eve and thank you so much for your lovely comment. It is always gratifying to hear of another success story. I think my daughter thinks I am crazy too sometimes while I just wish she would get her own place so I can declutter to her all her stuff that’s in my garage. She will be here for a ten day visit this Sunday and I will have her going through what is here to see if she is ready to part with stuff that years ago she still wanted.

      You are so right about much less cleaning. I love that about my place too. Even though most of my clutter was hidden away in cupboards the areas outside of the cupboards are now less cluttered also and I love it. I have often thought it would be fun to do a big motorhome trip but we tend to holiday internationally these days with light backpacks and public transport. A smaller home is definitely in our future though for sure.

  22. Thank you for this post! I didn’t realize how useful it was until I looked back on the last week and realized that I had steadily been purging clothing based on the little bug in my brain from this article. I’ve been purposely wearing the items that get ignored in my closet to see how I feel in them. At the end of the day (if it took that long), if I felt uncomfortable in the item or didn’t enjoy it, bye-bye it went!

    I got rid of 2 pairs of pants that were too big (beyond the help of a belt), a sweater that I loved at one time that now has moth holes, and a polo shirt I’ve had since high school. For the first time I was able to think, I value myself more than to wear a sweater with holes in it, rather than saving everything because I can’t afford replacements.

    It also occurred to me that if I don’t purge the rundown ones, and DO have the opportunity to replace them, I won’t because they’ll still be in my inventory.

    I also started doing the same with my music. I think this is harder than the clothes!!

    • Hi Elspeth and allow me to extend to you a very warm welcome to 365 Less Things. What I great first comment you have left. Explaining your process and your thinking is often a great help to someone else reading it. I am going to add your comment to next week’s Friday Favourites. Often when it comes to explaining decluttering it isn’t only what is being said but how it is being stated and after reading your comment I am going to have another look at my wardrobe. In fact the pair of bed shorts I am wearing as I type are really due to hit the rag bag.

      Thanks for a great comment and I hope you will make a habit of it.

      • Oh yay! I would be very happy to help someone else with something I said. This has been a crazy and difficult process for sure (I’ve been actively decluttering for the last couple of years – minimalizing for the last couple of months). And you are right – every so often someone’s story or personal insight will just speak to me, and I am so grateful to those people! Inspiration can be such a personal thing, we never know where it will come from next!

        I wanted to update my comment about music: that evening in a streak of decluttering, I went through all of my cds. Growing up I was never able to afford to purchase music, so later I felt lucky to acquire whatever cds that came my way. There was almost a status kind of feeling there for me. This made it REALLY hard to let them go. Some were sentimental, others were backups just in case something happened to my digital collection.

        I had one very large binder that held approx. 250-350 cds, one smaller one that held about 50, and a tiny one for photo and computer cds that held about 30. Needless to say, this seemed really excessive, especially in the face of decluttering other things that are much more central and important.

        I downloaded some to my computer, and purged them along with the homemade duplicates from when I had a car, and the ones I never liked. There were so many cds, they couldn’t all sit in one stack without falling over! I’m guessing I got rid of about 300-400…along with the extra large binder. I looove freecycle – I never feel guilty about passing something along to someone who will use and appreciate it.

        And you know what? It feels so good to release that fear in my head of “just in case”. I never again want to keep things out of fear. That’s not how I want to live my life!

        After I did this, I listened to a podcast about the development of digital media, and they talked about how we “consume” much more music than we ever did in the days of records. This struck a chord with me as I thought about my 44 gigs of music on my computer. It’s a bit like having an overcrowded closet; you dont’ really have the room to fully appreciate the ones you love because there are just so many! And there are many songs on my computer that I’ve never even listened to because of this. Just like the clothing in my closet that still has tags on it.

        Oh gosh, this became really long-winded. Sorry about that! I just want to express my gratitude for your encouragement and inspiration in this blog.

        • Hi Elspeth,
          sometimes we need to voice our own stories for one reason for another. So I am glad you got that off your chest because now I know a little more about where you are on your journey and how far you have come.

          That is a lot of music. My son has the most music in this house. My husband has quite a bit but I have only a small portion of the total. They love their music so I don’t interfere with that.

          You are so right with so much stuff to choose from it is easy to miss the best. And choosing becomes such a chore.

  23. I waited to see what all everyone had to say about all of this. It was a great post and I have really enjoyed the “conversation” from it. I shop at a Super Wal-Mart once a month. To make matters worse, it is the 2nd largest Wal-Mart they have in square footage. Thankfully, they have scooters to ride if you need one like I do. If it weren’t for the prices I would never step in the place. BUT, on almost everything they beat the prices of everyone else. I have gotten to know the layout well. I make a list and I stick to it. I’m in and out in less than an hour because I go at low traffic times and stick to that list. We have a Neighborhood Wal-Mart even closer to us. If it carried everything the Super one did I would go there all the time. I totally dislike all that stuff and all that walking. I have to go to a organic/eco/green grocery store for veggies and fruits because they have the best prices/produce. We DO NOT have any locally grown produce markets close by. I’m like a lot of you. I wish there were smaller stores with good prices and cut all that variety. I don’t need 5 versions of plain cornflakes or corn chips or green beans. Or How about the full aisle of shampoo? I HATE shopping for anything. I wish I could order my groceries off the internet at Wal-Mart prices and have them delivered. I do as much of that as I can when I can find free shipping. I don’t get pulled in by all the things. My problem is the effort and the time it takes. I miss a store we had in California back in the 80’s. I can’t remember the name of it but you could go in and buy a fresh salad or a fresh entree at a fairly good price and take it home. I found myself stopping there almost every night because it was easier than trying to cook for one, was just as cheap, and I didn’t have leftovers, etc. I think that in New York you can still shop at small shops that are dedicated to a particular segment of food–bakery, green grocer, meat market, etc. I like that idea.

    • Hi Deb J,
      it was interesting to me when you mentioned not being able to shop at “small shops that are dedicated to a particular segment of food–bakery, green grocer, meat market, etc”. That was something that I noticed when I first moved to America. In Australia we still have many of these specialty shops, butches, green grocers, bakers, delicatessens (less of these). I do fear that one day they might disappear but for now they still seem very popular.

  24. I have a lot more time since the middle sized supermarket opened at the next corner and we have stopped buying at the oversized supermarket we used to drive to. And our grocery bill went up only a little bit. I think this is a fair price for a reduced stress level.

    It is just like that: Less choice, shorter ways. I sometimes even walk there with a hiking backpack to do my shopping instead of driving there. It’s a workout for me and less impact on the environment… Win-Win!

    Dagmara

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