This week I was struck by a plaintive note in my 18 year old daughters voice as we stood in the market discussing the merits of one variety of cheese biscuit against another. We were trying to select one or even two packets to go with the indulgent mix of cheese we had decided on as an alternative to a Saturday night dinner. ‘There’s too much to choose from!’ I am absolutely certain we will not have been the first, or last, shoppers to state this while looking bewilderedly over shelves of jam, beans, pasta, tinned tomatoes, yoghurts – the list is never-ending isn’t it. Shopping is no longer about setting out to address the need to purchase a required item – it seems more a fulfilment of expression of self and individual tastes displayed through the chosen item selected and shown off. This is seen mostly in high end goods, cars, furnishing, holidays and clothes, but it seems to have filtered down to ordinary things in ordinary lives.
I found myself being notably considered when trying to choose which yoghurt to take home – organic or not, single serve size or large tub, low fat or no fat or just full on full fat before even coming to flavour and type – fruit (endless varieties), toffee, honey, lemon, set, not set, Greek, plain…. It was a sign of my keenness to purchase the ‘right one’ for me that I actually persisted and didn’t walk away. But this is just for one item on one person’s list in a supermarket – the same applies to almost every other item to purchase. Clothes washing products: powder, liquid, capsules, blocks, biological, non-biological, colours, trying to figure which one is ‘right for me’. This really is my most despairing isle to lose time in.
And that is the crunch. What is it that we value most – possessions or the time in which to enjoy life in? I would imagine that if asked, many people would ask for more time – to spend with family, friends, on their own, in the garden or green spaces, reading, the list goes on. Time wasted shopping is wasted time. Consumerism and choice gone mad, means that we spend too much time pondering the virtues of produce and would-be possessions in harshly lit stores and crowded shopping areas, generally buying more than we need.
Too much of everything? Perhaps with the exception of cheese – never too much cheese – so perhaps there may be a need for endless varieties of cheese wafers, crackers, biscuits and digestives to honour the cheese. Oh and what about cheeseboards – glass or wood….