views: 8004

While picking up some brand-new biscuit brands at Magnet Hypermarket in Matunga Road for our recent review, I came across a middle-aged gentleman standing at the aisle entirely dedicated to mass-produced biscuits.

I watched him spend nearly six-seven minutes taking in the sheer magnitude of brands staring him in the face. He picked up one packet of biscuits after another, examining the packaging and the minimal difference (if any) in cost with no way to tell whether the product inside was any good until he chose to buy it. Six-seven minutes for a packet of biscuits!

Wary about speaking to the camera, he said to me before slipping away – “There’s so much choice in the market these days. I just want to pick up something for the kids at home. That’s all. I’m not an expert or anything.”

Consumer culture makes us believe that choice is always a good thing. But it can also leave one feeling confused, unsure and fearful of missing out on something, of not being able to provide for one’s family to the fullest. It could be about something as trivial as a packet of biscuits or a more serious purchase like a mobile phone or a car.

It can even spill over into a constant paranoia that we are not good enough until we acquire products that make us unidentifiable from those around us – our neighbours, our colleagues, other members in our community. The products themselves are difficult to differentiate between, only adding to our dilemma.

This affliction of choice causes us to develop a split personality –the person and consumer become two, not one. It’s the kind of personality that ensures we always have two cookie jars at home – one for the chocolate chip cookies and Bourbon biscuits we lay out for guests when they come over for tea. And the other filled with Parle G.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.