Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Oct. 7, 2004

Get me out of here!

I am not a big shopper. Art and the girls will go shopping just for entertainment. Not me. When I discover I need something, I put it on a list. And when I go shopping, if it's not on the list, it doesn't usually come up on my radar screen.

There are some exceptions. Last weekend, when I went to a local nursery with Mom and the girls to buy pumpkins, I saw beautiful yellow, purple and orange icicle pansies for sale. I decided on the spur of the moment to buy three. A few weekends before that, when I went to the farmers' market to buy fresh vegetables, I just had to buy a few day lilies.

And it's usually best if I don't go to the grocery store when I'm hungry. Otherwise, I might fill the cart with anything that looks good.

But most times I buy only what's on my list.

I have a problem, though, when I go to one of the larger chain stores. Recently I made such a trip looking for just four items: shampoo, cat food, greeting cards and toilet paper.

But when I looked for shampoo, I found an aisle-full of choices. Suave, White Rain, Pert, L'Oreal, Herbal Essences, Garnier Fructis. Shampoo for oily, normal, dry, curly, permed and colored hair. Shampoo to treat dandruff. Shampoo for men. Shampoo for women. Some with conditioner, some without conditioner.

After plowing through all those choices and making a selection, I moved along to the cat food. Whoa! It seems pets have almost as many flavors and dietary supplements to choose from as we humans have! Fish, salmon, grilled egg and tuna, mackerel, liver, roasted chicken, beef, gourmet flavor. Dry, moist. Cat food for hairball control, weight management, urinary tract health, complete nutrition. Meow Mix, 9 Lives, Chef's Blend, Friskies, Iams, Whiskas. Food for adult cats. Food for kittens.

I next went to the greeting card aisle. Again, I was inundated with examples for all occasions: birthday, sympathy, thank-you, care/concern, baby boy, baby girl, anniversary, get well, good luck, congratulations and holiday greetings. Some were masculine, some were feminine. Some were for specific relatives: husband, wife, son, daughter, dad, mom, dad and mom, grandpa, grandma, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, niece, nephew. They included humorous, serious, sweet and raunchy messages.

With the shampoo, cat food and greeting cards in hand, I moved on to what should have been a quick stop. After all, toilet paper has a pretty simple function so the choices should have been small.

But it seems everyone wants to clean up in the clean-up business and I found myself pondering whether to buy Charmin, Cottonelle, Angel Soft, Northern or White Cloud. I'm not sure I want to know how customers tested the range of textures available: quilted, ridged, smooth and rippled. Some rolls had lotion. Some were scented. Others were lotion- and scent-free. A choice had to be made between one-ply and two-ply. Then I had to select whether I wanted single rolls, double rolls or giant rolls.

I started developing a headache from having to make so many decisions. It was time to swing back around to the aspirin aisle. Once there, I had to decide which pain reliever I needed: Tylenol, Advil, Bayer, Equate, Aleve, Motrin, St. Joseph or Ibuprofen? And in what form did I want relief? Capsules, caplets, gel caps or tablets?

All I could think was, get me out of here!

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