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Freedom of Choice Blows

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Momlogic's Andrea: Freedom of choice is making me wish we weren't so free.

pedialyte.jpgLast week, when my daughter got a stomach bug and christened each room of our house with vomit, I called our pediatrician. "She'll be fine," she said, "Just give her sips of Pedialyte to give her stomach a rest." Pedialyte, I've since learned, is a kind of water that makes sure kids get nutrients and stay hydrated when they've been vomiting or have diarrhea. Relieved I had the key to her recovery, I drove off to a pharmacy to pick up of some of this "magic water." 

It wasn't that easy. When I got to the store, the baby aisle had about 20 different varieties of the stuff: plain Pedialyte, flavored Pedialyte, generic Pedialyte (were they as good as the brand name?), artificially flavored generic Pedialyte (how can artificially flavored anything be good if she's sick?) and Pedialyte popsicles and lollipops. I was completely overwhelmed. My pediatrician had said just one word: Pedialyte.

It's not like I don't know what it's like to be American. I've been to a cereal section of a supermarket. I've felt nauseous battling sensory overload in a mall. I'm used to trying to sift though a multitude of pointless choices knowing full well there's no real difference between the products. Take toothpaste, for example. Here's a small sampling of all the toothpaste Crest offers on their Web site: Kids Crest, Crest Sensitivity, Crest Cavity, Crest Vivid White, Crest Pro Health, Crest Baking Soda & Peroxide, Crest Tartar Protection and Crest Extreme. The only thing that's "extreme" is how many useless products they have. But I wasn't buying toothpaste or cereal. This time, I was essentially buying medicine for my child. Why should there be so many friggin' choices? Can't we go back to the days of the general store run by some kindly old man?

"Yesum, little lady, we got Pedialyte. It's on the back shelf there next to the pencils."

No such luck. I tried to wade though my options knowing I needed to hurry back to my ailing child. I had to think fast, so I scooped up as much as I could carry and walked out with over 50 bucks worth of water, just to be safe. Now my family has enough nutritious water to hold us over in case of a natural disaster, or when she gets another stomach bug--whichever comes first.

Is it just me, or is there just WAY too much stuff to choose from?

next: Mom in Hot Water
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
mama_chita July 6, 2008, 11:27 AM

I totally agree! When we needed it for my son, my husband went to pick it up, thinking (like you?): ‘Easy enough. Pedialyte. Be right back.’ Same experience as you: A zillion choices, flavors, types, ‘forms’. After what seemed like fifteen phone calls later (to ask me what I thought, although I was just as baffled), we were ready with (almost) every flavor, in a few different ‘forms’. And then: My son refused to drink/take it!

I also had this same issue when told to get ‘Benadryl.’ Try looking for that, someday. :)

Totsalots July 7, 2008, 11:28 AM

You should have called your peditrician back and asked her more specifically what she meant

mamarama July 7, 2008, 11:28 AM

Ever tried going bra shopping?

Frugal Babe July 7, 2008, 12:59 PM

More and more products are this way these days. I was in the Peace Corps in Africa ten years ago, and when I returned to the US after two years in a tiny village (with one little shop where a shopkeeper would gather our selections from behind the counter), I was blown away by the amount of stuff in our stores. I was seeing it for the first time in contrast to what a store looks like when there’s only one of each thing. Pretty amazing.

Christie July 7, 2008, 1:10 PM

Or mattress shopping? Really I don’t want to become expert in mattress design technology in order to make a single purchase.

Anonymous July 7, 2008, 1:15 PM

the shelf life on that stuff is pretty bad too… why so much!?

Rick Bucich July 7, 2008, 1:19 PM

Good Point!

Often, when a doctor makes a product recommendation they will have samples to offer. It’s a good idea to ask because it provides a reference point and an opportunity to see if your child will take the product without expenditure.

Running to the store under duress is enough stress

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