sensory overload

Consumer Overload



I am reposting this from the Eclectic Global Nomad blog:

I was walking around a supermarket the other day with a friend of mine who commented on how many different kinds of the same thing were for sale. Why do there need to be so many? How do you choose?

I have been suffering from consumer overload for a long time so I knew exactly what he meant. When I lived in Europe, there were no such things as supermarkets.  At least not like the ones in the USA. There were small grocery markets, open markets, and specialty stores. If you wanted bread, you went to the bakery. Cheese was at the cheese store. Meat was at the butcher. You had choices. French, wheat, rye bread. Gouda, cheddar, mozzarella. Steak, rib, chop. But you did not have to decide between Pepperidge Farm, Arnold, Nature’s Own, Sara Lee, Wonder….. This didn’t only apply to food. Buying a headache remedy could be a real challenge.

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Whenever I landed in the USA after being away for a while, I would have a lot of trouble shopping.  I would go into a store like Target or Safeway and there were so many things and so many different kinds of the same item, that I would end up with sensory overload unable to process it and I would just stand in the middle of the store, frozen.


Seriously how do you decide what kind of tinned tomatoes you should buy?  Does it make any difference?  Is one better?  Which one?



Or orange juice?  Pulp, no pulp, calcium, extra pulp, from Florida…. and on and on….

After a while I would leave without buying anything.

To this day, if I am not focused and have a specific list of things I need and am able to find them quickly, I can drift around one of those stores for an hour or more.  Just fascinated by all the things you can buy that I don’t need or have any use for.

And the mall!  OMG!  All those stores luring you in, promising to give you all kinds of satisfaction.  I find I am usually disappointed.  I am always searching for the perfect practical item that will be functional and yet eclectic and unique.  Ha!

I read recently that TCK’s (Third Culture Kids) are not materialistic.  People and friendships are more important than having a lot of things.  It is certainly true in my case.  The less stuff I have, the better.  Who needs the luggage?  It’s a backpack for me!