Monday 16 October 2017


I was listening to a woman order her coffee the other day. It was one of those long, complicated orders that by the time she got to the end, she just looked at the barista and said, ‘You do know that DRY means less milk (I’m gathering that most baristas know that by now as coffee making demands a vast coffee vernacular).  I of course stifled a laugh, cause if you are at the point where you have to describe your coffee, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if it’s indeed a coffee you want in the first place! Personally, I think most people want a caffeine fueled milkshake, but are just too shy to commit.

I think coffee is a great mirror into the greater societal issue that now we simply have too much choice. There have been many research studies on this mere fact alone, how too much choice increases stress, and in some cases, increases unhappiness. Researcher Barry Schartz calls this “choice overload.” As he states, “as the number of options increases, the costs, in time and effort, of gathering the information needed to make a good choice also increase. The level of certainty people have about their choice decreases. And the anticipation that they will regret their choice increases.”  You see that, your dry, extra hot pumpkin latte with a dash of cinnamon vs. the triple vanilla shot, with organic Non GMO soy imported from Tibet is making you depressed!!

Now I am admittedly at the age where nostalgia has kicked me right up the backside with its large leather boot to remind me that simpler times of limited choice, pre-internet, and plain black coffee (with a non remorseful cigarette, ahhhhh) meant my head didn’t feel like it was going to explode on a daily basis. No matter what it is you're seeking, there are at least six to ten choices for anything you are after.  Be it shampoo, vinegar, cars, films, fabrics, houses, dogs, cats, books, or even chocolate, you need a dossier to work out a simple shopping list. Be it, non GMO, organic, artisanal, imported, homegrown, sustainable, animal-cruelty free, lead free... and so on, and on, and on... (Calgon, take me away!!... see that, even Calgon has three thousand competitors now).

I was reminded of how true complicated things have gotten the other day when I looked into doing some weekly volunteer work at a local children's hospital. In my mind, it should have been simple - Say you want to get involved, give them your details, and go hold some babies. Voila! 
Um, no. After filling out a five page form (with required answers in paragraph form detailing my viewpoints on empathy, compassion, team working etc.), obtaining references to my character, doing the required background checks, and so on, I was then contacted to let me know that IF I FIT the criteria, they would be in touch. I thought the criteria was that I wanted to help?! 

You see, complicated, complicated times... filled with paperwork, bureaucracy, and twenty different variations of a coffee beverage. And I wonder why I have a drawer full of sleep remedies in my nightstand – cause why have 1 when you can have 10!

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