Variety~the Spice of Life?

When I was a child, one of my favorite scents (aside from the smell of a new book or magazine) was the smell of my mother’s face cream.  I think she used plain old Pond’s cold cream, and I recall her slathering it on her face each evening before bed.  Often, a smidgen of it would linger on my cheek when she kissed me goodnight, and I savored the aroma as I drifted off to sleep.

This afternoon I spent about 15 minutes in the beauty aisle at Target, perusing hundreds of facial skin care products, trying to determine what in the world I should put on my face.

Too many choices.

Should it be Olay Regenerist, or Anti Aging, or Pro-X?

Maybe I should try L’Oreal Expertise, Revitalift, or Genesis?

Or Neutrogena Ageless Essentials, Restorative, or Anti-Oxidant?

By now my head is spinning, and I give up and start looking for Pond’s Cold Cream.  (They actually DID have it!)

Seriously, for every product I go to purchase, I find myself standing longer and longer in front of the shelves, looking for the item I want, or trying to decide which one is appropriate.

The other day I was standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery, looking for Grape Nuts.  Of course, there are Grape Nuts Flakes, Grape Nuts, and Healthy Grape Nuts Trail Mix Crunch – not bad, really, only three varieties.  An elderly gentleman was standing beside me, looking rather dazed and confused.

“Can I help you find something?” I asked.

“I just want some Corn Flakes,” he said, scratching his head in dismay.

I pointed out the Corn Flakes, and helped him choose between 12 ounce, 16 ounce, or the huge 48 ounce family size.

He put his small box in the cart and sighed.  “My goodness,” he said.  “I remember when the only cereal they made was Corn Flakes.”

Ah yes, the good old days when life was simple and choices were few.  How ever did we survive without 240 television stations, 97 varieties of cereal, 14 different kinds of dental floss, and 33 different sizes of feminine protection?  Have our needs really changed that much, become so much more specialized and intensive?  Could we ever go back to the old days, when there were only one or two choices to be made?

Or would we be just as happy with one flavor cereal, one brand of moisturizer, and three of four television stations?

I finally brought home some skin care products, which cost me almost as much as my grocery bill for the week.  The night cream comes in sleek little tube, and I wonder if it will last even the rest of the month.  It contains something called Helioplex, and is supposed to neutralize 99% of the free radicals, as well as clarify my skin, take care of wrinkles, and “even out” my skin tone.

Whatever.   I’m pretty sure it won’t smell as nice as my mom’s Ponds.



8 thoughts on “Variety~the Spice of Life?

  1. Becca,
    This is one of my pet peeves. Once I was completely frustrated when I couldn’t find my favorite old cereal. I even did a post on it. We only had four or five cold cereals and three hot ones when I was growing up. I actually took a photo of the cereal isle in Walmart before I was approached by security and informed that I was not allowed to take photos.

    I recall seeing a teacher stand up in the Phil Donahue audience. She talked about how she gave her students’ parents a list of supplies their children would need. The 8-pack of crayolas was on the list. One little girl came to school with the 48-pack and promptly spilled them all over the floor. Class came to a halt for several minutes while she scooped them up. The teacher told the mother, “Give your children what they need, not what they want.” Ah. So simple.

  2. Noxema. I haven’t thought of Noxema for years, but I can smell it now, thanks to your post.

    Choice is good, but I’d far rather have the ability to choose my doctor than to choose from among 85 varieties of cereals. Now that I think of it, “full body scan or pat-down” isn’t much of a choice, or the choice to buy insurance or pay a fine to the government.

    As you can see, I’m a little grumpy about this, but I really do think that our society slowly has been trained to think of the freedom to choose among brands as real freedom. It’s a kind of freedom, but not the important kind.

    Oh – I swear by Grapenuts and Olay Complete SPF15. It’s kept me in pretty good shape after twenty years of working in the sun!

  3. You’re so right – we have choice where it doesn’t count, and that’s supposed to make up for the lack of choice where it does!

    I’m pretty stuck on Grapenuts myself. I will go so far as to have them in Flake form on occasion. And I’ll try the Olay Complete next time!

  4. Skin care choices drive me crazy! I go into the store looking for a good moisturizer and within minutes I’m confused. We not only have too many choices, but we’re bombarded with dire warnings about what will happen if we choose the wrong product.

  5. Noxema.That was my grandmother’s face cream. I haven’t smelled it in years, but I know if it wafted by, I would be transported.

    I’ve been doing my fair share of label reading these days — and now that I have memorized all the Weight Watchers points on my favorites per serving, they are changing the program and I’ll have to start all over again! Deciding a lipstick, for heaven sake. Sometimes I pick what I know just because I don’t have the wherewithall to pick something new. Or do the research.

    Well, Rick has a TV with an antenna and I have cable. I’m willing to bet that there are only three or four stations I get that he doesn’t that I watch. Maybe he has it right.

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