P: The Paralyzing Plethora Problem

I had a plethora of ideas for this post, inspired by the Letter P.  This presented a problem because I hate nothing more than to have too many choices.   

Important life decisions…no problem.  Confidence…yes…I have it.  But, if you really want to torture me, lay 1,000 different colors at my feet and ask me to pick a favorite.

Imagine you are on a reality show.  At the front door of a Super Wal-Mart, you are handed this note:

  • SITUATION:  Your regular shampoo has been discontinued.
  • TASK:  You must purchase a new bottle and use it every day for a month.
  • EVALUATION:  If your hair does not fall out, frizz out, or be mistaken for the hairdo of Donald Trump, you will score 1,00o points for your team.
  • TIME:  You have 15 minutes to complete a purchase.  The clock starts NOW.

Would you win the points?  Not me. 

I would stand in the aisle, completely paralyzed.  Aside from the billion other reasons why I don’t like superstores, there are too many things to pick from. I’d stand there all glassy-eyed, wondering “should I get this shampoo, or that one, or that one, or THAT one?”   I know I’d leave the store empty-handed…after spending a ridiculous amount of time reading labels and price tags and worrying about being mistaken for Donald Trump’s love child if my choice was WRONG!  

I don’t remember there being thousands of product brands to pick from when I was growing up.   Take shampoo.  I remember having Prell, Breck, Head and Shoulders, and Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific!  Maybe Trump uses that last one, although I never got close enough to take a whiff.  🙂

Are you a good, every-day decision-maker? Are there too many choices out there in the world? 

31 responses to this post.

  1. I can pick a restaurant or a movie or things like that, but stick me in a shoe store and tell me to choose some without giving me an outfit to match them to? Never gonna happen.


  2. You would think a lot of choices gives you a range of possibilities in that a personal or particular option would be presented. When I was a kid you had what, less than a dozen car manufacturers? Three models each: convertible, sedan, station wagon. Now there must be hundreds of choices. Consumer reports help in qualify a purchase but that takes a month to study and there are so many pros and con it makes everything a trade-off and makes you dizzy. 300 TV channels and nothing good to watch is the perfect example.


    • Exactly, Carl. Information overload makes the choice that much harder. My E Post, the Evil Electric Eco-Washer…well, that came recommended by Consumer Reports. 😦


  3. I’m with you! I feel overwhelmed and have a very hard time if I have too many choices. With some things I can be very decisive, but a lot of times its hard for me to make decisions. That scenario with the shampoo had me laughing. I probably would be the same way.


  4. Wow, I forgot all about Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific! I used that all the time. I loved it. We also used a lot of Suave (I think that’s how it was spelt).

    Decision making. It’s my specialty. I’m quick on the draw. I always tell the kids it’s worst to make no decision at all than to make the wrong decision.

    I usually make decisions on gut instinct, and that’s usually automatic.

    However, many choices to make me pause for a few seconds longer than I usually do. When I konw I’m faced with choosing one of a thousand, I take the kids. When it came to choosing a colour for the kitchen, I set the three of them in front of the card display and get them to pick out two colours each. That narrows my choices down to six. That’s cheating in a way, but . . . hey, it works. Kids usually make quick decisions because they are eager to get on to something else.


    • The next time I’m faced with a big decision, I’ll be consulting you…or your kids, unless that’s against child labor laws! 🙂


  5. I usually don’t hesitate over every day decisions. I’m a bit like Diane in that way. I do take time to mull over the bigger decisions in life, those are the ones I don’t like rushing into.


  6. *giggles* I am CHEAP, so that drives a lot of decisions–meaning I don’t even buy my first choice shampoo NOW (which would be the Pantene for curly hair–instead I buy the suave humesctrice or something–the moisture one). But I can also just be pretty darned impulsive. Whatever the case, I would not win. My hair will be frizzy no matter what…


    • Giggles back at ya. I always price compare, too. Sometimes price is NO indication of quality. Curly hair rocks..frizzy or not!


  7. “I know I’d leave the store empty-handed…after spending a ridiculous amount of time reading labels and price tags and worrying about being mistaken for Donald Trump’s love child if my choice was WRONG!”

    Bwhahahahahahahahha! OMG, that’s HYSTERICAL!

    I could have written this post myself, because I’m the exact same way, Tracy.

    ” Confidence…yes…I have it. But, if you really want to torture me, lay 1,000 different colors at my feet and ask me to pick a favorite.”

    That’s me to a tee! I can make major life changes easier than making a choice on which color shirt I should buy!

    However, I blame that on being a Libra!



    • Okay Ron, we will NEVER go shopping together. Or, maybe if we do, we can fret about our color choices together over a bottle of wine…that is…if we can decide which bottle to order.


  8. I miss Gee Your Hair Smells terrific..and I am so lousy at choices…I end up grabbing and running….


  9. Hi Tracy .. I make quick decisions .. but if something I use is discontinued it does throw me .. I’d probably walk out empty handed – til I’d had time to assimilate the information & make a decision ..quietly in my own space ..

    Love the word though .. Plethora .. cheers Hilary


    • Nice to see you here, Hilary, among the plethora of comments. Humm…what do you think is the minimum number to be considered a plethora?


  10. I hate when a product I like is no longer made. Ticks me off!


  11. What trips me up is trying to find things in the baking aisle I’ve never heard of. Especially spices. I stood there, paralyzed, trying to make sense of all the words in front of me while figuring out why “white pepper” was so hard to find. Every other color of pepper was there…why not the one I needed? Finally I found it, right in front of my face!


    • Oh yes…the spice isle brain freeze…happens to me all the time. I hate it most when a recipe says “yeast” and then you go to the store and realize there are 6 different kinds, all yielding dramatically different results. Hate that!


  12. I take FOREVER to make a decision, but once I do, I very seldom have second thoughts. I’m stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.


  13. Posted by yadayadafishpaste on April 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    I think I’m a little bit of both. In some ways I’ve become quite the decision maker. In other ways I prefer to keep it simple. I used to (for instance) not be good with even choosing something to drink off a menu at a restaurant. I’d always wait for the other person to order first and follow suit. A friend of mine then started deliberately not telling me what he’s be having – forcing me to choose for myself. Today I’m a LOT better with decisions as a result. However, don’t give me 20 pairs of earrings and necklaces and pairs of shoes to choose from. I’m always running 15 min late. So I always wear the same watch, necklace and earrings, and I usually choose between brown, black or sneakers when it comes to shoes. Heaven knows, I can think of many better ways to spend my time instead 🙂 Some things are simply not worth it. Maybe that determines how I make my decisions – priority on a scale of 1 – 10 haha Keeping it simple is a good life rule. Too bad it is not ALWAYS that simple haha On the shampoo, I’d very probably go for the next well known brand that my hair dresser has not warned me against 😉


    • Keeping it simple is a GREAT life rule! I have about 20 pairs of shoes and wear the same 2 pair all the time. Does that count as simple…or just a waste of money on the 28 other pair?


  14. Posted by yadayadafishpaste on April 19, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Oh, and my golden rule: ‘No peace, NO GO!!’ (My mind is not changed easily once I’ve made my decision, and if you don’t like it, tell someone who cares! haha – MY consequences, therefore MY decision for ME.)


  15. Posted by Kalli on April 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    i would do the same thing! stand and look and have a hard time making a decision! how funny……


  16. Posted by Amy on April 24, 2011 at 10:32 am

    LOL. I used to use all of those. I actually ordered some “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific” a year or two ago from this company that sells nostalgia items and things they used to make in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. I had to pay like $15 for a tiny bottle. But it was worth it. Brought back memories from childhood.


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