warning: may cause epileptic siezure


What's with all of the choices at the supermarket? It’s nearly impossible for me to simply walk in, pick up a box of Cheerios and escape. The cereal isles across America (each containing a stifling 200-something varieties of crunchy-stuff-in-a-box) should have signs that say: "Warning! May cause epileptic siezure, heart attack, stroke and may not be suitable for pregnant women or the elderly."

And it's not just the cereal isle. What about the paper towel selection? How many colors and different degrees of absorbancy do we need? And don't even get me started on toothpaste. How many different ways can I achieve good dental hygiene today? I'm pretty sure I can live without products like: that toothpaste that has the mini fresh breath strips suspended in it.

Don't get me wrong, variety is a wonderful thing. But when is having more options too much?

Have you ever stopped to think about the unnecessary amount of options? Even for just Cheerios: Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Berry Burst Cheerios, MultiGrain Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, Yogurt Burst Cheerios, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios and last year they actually released Chocolate Cheerios.

And if you want to save a buck you can get the store brand Scooters, Toasted Oats, Tasteeos or Purely O's depending on where you're shopping.

Or perhaps the store brand Frosted Flakers or even Frosted Mini Wheats.

Well since we're in the Frosted Mini Wheats section, let's weigh our options now. We have unfrosted, blueberry muffin, cinnamon streusel, Frosted Mini Wheats Big Bite, strawberry frosted and more! And that's just the tip of the iceberg for Kellogg's. Don't forget about:

All-Bran, All-Bran Original, All-Bran Bran Buds
Apple Jacks
Bran Flakes
Cocoa Krispies
Corn Flakes
Bran Flakes
Corn Pops
Caramel Nut Crunch
Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes
Froot Loops: Marshmallow Froot Loops
Frosted Flakes: Frosted Flakes 1/3 Less Sugar
Fruit Harvest
Honey Loops
Honey Smacks
Low-Fat Granola with Raisins
Mini Swirlz
Nut Feast
Oat Bran
Raisin Bran (with two scoops of raisins, duh)
Raisin Wheats
Rice Krispies: Frosted Rice Krispies
Cinnamon Marshmallow Scooby-Doo! Cereal
Smart Start
Special K (+8 million different kinds of Special K)
Spider-Man Spidey-Berry
SpongeBob SquarePants Cereal

Spidey-Berry? Put that on the "Top 5 most annoying things at the grocery store" list (it would be number one, with the guy that is totally abusing the express lane as a close second).

Do you think that the overwhelming amount of food options might be contributing to the rising rates of obesity in this country?

Well in that case here's an idea: why don't they take every product already on the market and make its "low-fat" or "non-fat" counterpart. This way they can maximize profits by catering to the already overweight, the overweight but trying to lose weight and the health conscious while simultaneously providing an extreme sensory overload for customers while they shop!

During simpler times, like in the early 1900s, we saw family-owned neighborhood grocery stores and shops. Without 400 types of cereal and every type of frozen dinner imaginable, maybe you purchased less. Or maybe you only bought the bare necessities. ("Forget about your worries and your strife.")

Today every company is competing to create the newest and best products. To say that the supermarket shelves are overcrowded is an understatement. We have more options than we need and it's frightening. When it takes me longer than 5 minutes to buy a box of tampons because I'm overwhelmed with the options before me, it's a problem.

And as if the selection of products I actually need wasn't enough, I find myself perusing through things I don't need. You do it too, and it's no accident. Stores are actually using behavioral mechanisms (among many other methods), a focus of consumer psychology, that basically modify our shopping environment forcing us to browse through or walk by things we don't need. Products are placed around a supermarket based on the assumption that consumers will circle the store counterclockwise. Throughout this circle, specific items and "special offers" are sagaciously placed, while everyday items that we truly need are stocked elsewhere.

So you go in for a box of Cheerios and you come out with Honey Bunches of Oats (with strawberries!), fruit snacks, a milk frother, a back scratch and a clean linen scented glade plug-in. WTF? UGH. (A milk frother!? Really?! But it was on sale....)

Regardless these damn stores make my head spin. Let's just avoid grocery shopping.


  1. The lineup of cereals on my shelf is enough to cause epileptic seizure that's for sure. I am guilty of owning some of these brands. One brand I hate with a passion is that stupid spidey-berry cereal. I tend to go with the self checkout lane these days due to the massive amounts of idiots in the express lane.

  2. And let's not get started about nail polish varieties! Right?

  3. Thomas I'm so guilty of loving all of the cereals but it is outrageous. Jonathan dont get me fired up about the nail polish colors or I'll have to do a post about color.

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