Choices

It takes me way too long to buy salad dressing. I know what I want. I even know which aisle it’s on. But once I get there, it takes what feels like eons to find the bottle I’m looking for. What is this mysterious salad dressing? Kraft Zesty Italian®.

But which one? Kraft Free Zesty Italian fat free dressing? Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing Fat Free? Kraft Zesty Italian dressing & marinade? Kraft Light Zesty Italian with Extra Virgin Olive Oil reduced fat dressing? (Capitalization taken from actual product labels.) There’s one version of the bottle that says it’s “anything dressing.” So if the bottle doesn’t say that, it’s only for salad? And just before my head pops off, I notice there are multiple sizes and “SALE” tags hanging from some of the shelves.

I want one regular-sized bottle of Kraft Zesty Italian. Why in the world should it take this long to find one thing? Anyone who has been in a grocery, discount or drug store in the past two decades has seen the expansion of many product categories. (Have you bought Oreos lately?) I’m looking for industry data on the number of salad dressings available in grocery stores today versus 10 or 20 years ago because I can’t be the only one who has experienced this phenomenon. Apparently I am the only person outside of the grocery industry who wants this information.

I need fewer choices. I propose adding the word “classic” to the original variety of each product. (I remember that was Coca Cola’s solution for one of the all-time worst marketing decisions ever made.) I imagine how quickly I could fill my shopping cart with classic Charmin, Oreos, Aqua Fresh, Tylenol, Dr Pepper, Log Cabin and Cheerios. How would I fill all that extra time? Planting my garden.

I just have to decide which tomatoes I’m going to grow this year.

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