I have been researching down doonas (duvet) as we needed a new one for this winter.  This, once upon a time, was a simple exercise.   The choice was small, making it easy to make a decision.  No more. Firstly, down doonas range in price from cheap $100 (Aus/USA) up to the expensive $600 (Aus/USA) for a queen-size. The price increases depending on the filling and that is where it becomes complicated, for example:
  • 100% duck
  • 100% goose
  • 50/50 duck and goose or other combinations
  • goose down and feathers  by 50 down/50 feathers,  85 down/15 feathers or other combinations
  • duck down and feathers etc etc . . . . . . .etc...
So which one to buy . . . and that is the problem . . . how to decide, what is the warmest?  The labeling on the packaging isn't clear on warmth levels eg equivalent in blankets making it difficult. After my extensive research I selected a 100% goose that contains 85% down and 15% feathers as this is considered the warmest available (goose is warmer than duck and down is warmer than feather). Only took me two weeks to decide and find what I wanted and yes, it was on sale, saving me 40%. 

However my exercise in buying a doona is not an isolated problem.  Every trip to the supermarket requires these decision making processes.  Toothpaste is a classic example . . . do I buy the whitening, total, sensitive, fight cavities . . . I just want one that cleans, is that too much to ask.  How much time do we waste standing in supermarket aisles trying to decide what to buy.  Far too much I am sure.  Shampoo is another good example, just want one that cleans my hair and smells nice . . . but life is not that simple anymore.

This is where the corner store made the lives of our grandmothers much easier. There wasn't any choice and the selection was much smaller . . . tiny really.  Did you know there is now over 45 000 products in our average supermarket, up from 7 000 in the 1970s.  I wonder if we got rid of half would anyone notice!!

Our lives are complicated enough, wouldn't it be nice if shopping didn't add extra complications by all the choices we need to make.   Do we need this choice?



  1. We probably don't need those choices... At the old general store, didn't the customer just tell the assistant what they needed and the assistant just grabbed it according to what they had in stock? Those were the days! I wonder what people from times-gone-by would think of our world (apart from feeling completely overwhelmed)??

    We really are spoiled for choice in today's world.

  2. Just recently there was a documentary (6 parts) on the ABC that took us back in time to the late 1800's all the way through to the 1970's and showed the change in retail on the "High Street" in a typical British village. What was most interesting was the change from the local "corner store" as it moved to the "supermarket" in the 1950s. Customers were asked what they preferred and many of them like the personal touch of the corner store where they were considered important and were treated as special (and spoken to). This, of course, has been completely lost in the supermarket.

    However the down side to this was the lack of choice, but to be honest the "customers” who had to buy their food from the local store in the late 1800s got all their basic foods they needed (they went to the butcher for their meat and the baker for bread). It was a very interesting look at what we have lost when we were given more choice.

  3. PS - this is the programme I was talking about:

    It wsa the "grocer" that became the supermarket.


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