Food shopping, to us, is always a plus and minus activity.

The minus part:  It’s gotta get done, usually during the time (i.e., on weekends) everyone goes supermarketing.

On the plus side, meandering down grocery aisles satisfies our need for visual stimulation.  There are always new products to pick up, packaging that grabs our eyes, and new claims to read and ponder. 

That’s where we invariably get lost.  Because with the amazing amount of products in store, it’s hard to choose, for instance, among 350-something types of toothpastes.  [And that number has been reduced by nearly 20 percent from the previous year, according to market research firm Spire LLC.]  We sigh and then pick the same-old same-old. 

Too many choices also afflict many of us who work in communications and design.  In our heads, there’s the tug between the new media and the tried and true, the weighing of short versus long content, the options provided by brand palettes, differences in tone and voice, use of metrics, just to mention a few.

When actual content is factored in, the number of “I don’t knows” expands exponentially.

So does bewilderment.  

How many retirement savings or health care plans will need to be understood – before employees pick their benefits?  Do senior managers truly care about three or four new identity alternatives?  Will decision makers be swayed or confused by all the options that might help realize more revenues, save costs, attract new customers?

Today, many marketers are beginning to recognize the wisdom of the fewer, the better.   Whether it’s foodstuffs or news channels, car models or restaurants, the consumer (and his/her wallet) decides.  Enough, after all, can be too much. 

As for us?  We just might vote for Hobson’s choice.