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