Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Opinion

April 16, 2010

Amazing product variety

BATESVILLE — Recently, I was shopping for toothpaste. As I made my way through the aisle, I looked at all the different kinds available. Of course, I always buy Crest, but this time I wondered if I should switch to a different variety, one that would be better for my oral hygiene. I guess I never paid that much attention to how many kinds there were, everything from whitening to plaque and tartar control to those for sensitive teeth or a combination of several of these. I began to wonder. Is one really better than another? After pondering this question, I decided upon my usual variety. Then I went a couple aisles over to the shampoos and conditioners and had the same dilemma. What kind should I buy? There were some for dry and damaged hair as well as for oily or normal hair. There were some for color treated or permed hair and for volume. Then there were those specifically for blondes or brunettes, not to mention the different scents, including apple, coconut, strawberry and other exotic flavors. The shelves also contained a variety of styling products. There were hair sprays that promised varying degrees of hold, from flexible to firm; all kinds of gels and mousses; and hair dyes to color your hair all shades of blonde, brunette or red. I could have spent hours just looking at hair products. I decided then and there that common household items have come a long way. It used to be there were only one or two kinds to choose from. Now you could spend hours looking at a single item to determine what’s best for you. Since I wasn’t in a big hurry, I checked out the merchandise in other departments. I found hundreds of pens, those with fine and medium points, some that had caps and others that clicked open and shut. There were also many colors to choose from. I saw all kinds of pencils, from No. 2 to mechanical, along with their accessories. There were erasers of all shapes, pencil toppers and grippers, plus various sizes of lead. In addition, shoppers could invest in other writing utensils, including highlighters; Sharpies; gel pens; and dry erase, washable and permanent markers. The next stop was tissues, which I planned on purchasing. I already knew I wanted something soft, not any that felt like sandpaper. Once again, I had a large variety. What color of box did I want, and what color of tissues did I prefer? Did I want a small, medium or large-sized box? The manufacturers try to appeal to everyone’s tastes because there were colors and designs to go with every decor. Finally, it was time for one of the most essential items in the entire store: toilet paper, which is something you don’t want to run out of. Shelves were lined with regular and jumbo rolls that were single- and double-ply. There were basic, sensitive, ultrasoft and ultrastrong types, quite a variety. Everyone has their own preference. I’m just glad we have these choices and don’t have to decide which page of the Sears and Roebuck catalog to use, like some of our ancestors had to.

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