Spoiled for Choice
UNIFORMITY: It can be helpful

Clothing is important.

So is food. So are many of the other things we buy.

All the same, I do not like to shop… and I don’t like to look around much when I do.

Instead, I form a plan of attack before I leave the house so I will be able to gather the itemsI need as quickly as possible.

I think that may be because I don’t want to make more decisions than necessary so I’m not looking for a wide variety of choice… especially for items like laundry detergent and toilet paper.

I realisethis is not the case for everyone.

Most normal people these daysseem to enjoy shopping, and choice is a usually seen as a very good thing.

As a matter of fact, the amount of choice shoppers have is used as a measuring stick for development, but sometimes, I think too much can be a problem for everyone.

The obvious example is the one I have pictured at the top of the page; school uniforms.

When I went to school in the United States back in the 60s and 70s, we could wear whatever we wanted provided it was neat and, for the girls, not too revealing, which in those days meant not revealing at all.

Unfortunately, that freedom resulted in my sisters and many of my classmates spending a great deal of time and energydressing up to go to school.

They had to get up early, it was a distraction, and it often put an unnecessary strain on family budgets and on less wealthy students’ self-esteem.

So, I am a big fan of school uniforms. My daughters always knew what they would be wearing when they went to John Mackenzie, so the onlyworry was keeping the uniforms clean.

That left them more time to sleep and study and, in my opinion, made it more likely they would be friendly with their classmates.

Not that being competitive is always a bad thing; it has its place on the sports field and other areas where we develop faster when faced with a challenge.

But I don’t think comparing our clothing, cars, and other possessions to what other people have helps us become better people.

The other problem with having a great many similar items to choose from is that it makes it very difficult to work out which one is the best.

And the more there is to choose from, the less likely we are to know if we got it right.

But then again, even when there are few choices, we can still get it wrong.

An engineering student is riding his new bicycle when he meets a classmate on campus one day.

“Hey, nice bike,” says the friend, “where did you get it?”

“Well,” the rider replies, “I was walking to class the other day when this beautiful woman rides up on this bike. She jumps off and takes off all her clothes and says, ‘I’ll give you anything you want.’ So, I took the bike.”

“Good choice,” says his friend, “I don’t imagine the clothes would have fit.”

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