An overwhelming amount of options hinders our society

Kimberly Davis

Imagine walking through any aisle at a grocery store. Say, for instance, you are walking through the bread aisle. Now imagine deciding between white bread, wheat bread, and everything in between. An overwhelming variety of options is not unique to the food industry, as it is the case with most consumer products, internet websites, and even sports teams. In almost all situations in our lives we have multiple options. Of course it’s convenient to walk through a store and have hundreds of options, but is this convenience necessarily a good thing? This abundance of choices makes it easy for us to take everything for granted and limits our personal decision making. The idea that less can be more has been forgotten, and we rely on the production of even more options.

Every day a new product is revealed to the public, but this was not the case decades ago. Each generation grows up with more than the previous generation. If people believe they must have more, they appreciates less. If people don’t treasure what they have, they are more likely to feel unsatisfied. This dissatisfaction will only make people feel as though they need even more in their lives. When someone keeps consuming to relieve this dissatisfaction, the cycle will repeat itself. Where does it end? If people are given so many options, will there ever be a point where they restrict themselves? Having less allows people to appreciate what they have, and not dwell on what they do not have, but companies force people to feel otherwise.

Open any magazine or turn to any television station and there will be an advertisement. Whether it is the latest phone, a promising energy drink, or a new hair product that will turn women into Rapunzel, companies fill consumers’ heads with the idea that to be more, they have to have more. Today’s propaganda thrives on what people feel they lack. By using phrases like “You have to have it,” or “This will complete you,” advertisements imply that people are less without a certain product. Of course, this is effective for the company because its sales go up, but such advertising techniques negatively affect consumers. When consumers feels as though they are lacking something, they indulge in these choices and the cycle begins again.

How do we end this cycle? The first step is realizing that we are being forced to believe that we need more. When we open our eyes and realize what is happening, we can finally step back and readjust. Instead of buying something because we feel like it will complete us, buy something only if you truly want to. The idea of less is more is having things that matter, not having everything just for the sake of having it. We as consumers are ultimately in charge of what we buy and what we don’t buy. The overabundance of choices can be appreciated, but should not be taken for granted.

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