We get too much choice, not too little


They think we’ll rejoice, offered infinite choice,

But in fact more is less; indecision means stress.

How did they ever think it was clever

To propose the adoption of every damned option

Under the sun, instead of just one?


Just take the car, where they’ve gone far too far.

Do I have to recap the ten types of hubcap

The number of doors, colored carpets on floors,

The bumpers, the hoods, powered windows, faux-woods?

One mentally cowers faced choice of horse-powers,

Different colors and trims and personalized shims,

When on the turnpike cars look much alike.

Henry Ford, please come back and offer just black!


Take the cereals on offer three hundred they proffer,

And do so in aisles that stretch out for miles.

They have now added in every known vitamin,

So you’re glutted with C and gutted with D.

If you read all the labels, ingredient tables,

I very much fear it would be a career.


Hi-tech sort of gear is a category where

They include lots of stuff that you don’t use enough,

Or remember it’s there, or particularly care.

The shops you buy through mostly haven’t a clue;

The instructions are vast, and a whole day has passed

Before you work out what the feature’s about.

And I’ll have a good bet that at once you’ll forget

What buttons to press, and you’ll just have to guess.


Oh, take me back home where the buffaloes roam

Where you rock in your chair in fresh air with no care;

Where in the boondocks the shops have small stocks,

And you’re settled and done with a “choice” of just one;

And you buy your provisions with no endless decisions,

Just a simple invoice and no multiple choice.


So who’s going to tell the people who sell

To in future decline to over-design?

Who’s going to complain “Wish you’d just keep it plain.

Let it do just one task, that’s all that we ask.”

I have just made a start: “Give us less a la carte!”

Come, you too can rejoice with more time and less choice.

(Robert Hanrott)


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