Embarras Du Choix

January 29, 2018

Last Friday, Robert and I drove to Walmart for the sole purpose of buying a few packages of jello. The matter of fact we were  going to buy only pineapple jello, as that one is Robert’s favorite.  Maybe, just maybe, also watermelon flavor.  Currently, none of the grocery stores in the area has either of them on its shelves. When, however, we got to the proper section of Walmart, Robert became mesmerized by the sheer quantity of flavors.  Moreover, I told him that he could choose any 10 packages he fancies.

That was a problem because

  1.  We set out just to buy two flavors.
  2. We didn’t specified how many of these two flavors Robert expected to buy.
  3. There were many flavors advertised by enticing colors  and suddenly Robert had a zest for all of them.

Robert didn’t know what to do. He wanted to do what was, in his mind, appropriate.  He wanted to buy only pineapple and watermelon gelatin desserts. One of each. It took a lot of convincing on my part for Robert to take two of each kind.  But then he was still not leaving.  He kept taking packages out of shelves and  putting them back.  He held the lime one, then grape one, then blueberry one.  Just for a few seconds.  He was tempted to taste something different, but then he restrained himself to just his first choice.

People were coming, grabbing one item or two, and leaving.  Robert was still contemplating little boxes of Jellos while opposite forces were confusing him more and more.  It didn’t help that often, he showed me a package as if asking for permission. He always got it, but that didn’t help him make his mind.  It took at least 30minutes before the last barriers precluding him from choosing WHAT HE WANTED and not from WHAT HE BELIEVED WAS APPROPRIATE  were broken.  Robert got nine packages, dropped them in the shopping cart, and energetically aimed for cash register.

The flavor he chose: 3 pineapple, 2 watermelon, 1 grape, 1 blueberry, 1 lime, and 1 strawberry.

On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday he made, with my decreasing help,  three of them: blueberry, grape, and watermelon.  He has already made his mind for today.  Today he wants to taste lime.

I consider that experience important, as Robert has had difficult time with making choices.  He usually tries to guess what I (or any other person accompany him) wants him to choose. With a few exceptions of things we buy regularly, Robert doesn’t want to buy anything new. He seems to censure his own wishes before they even come to light. Choosing and buying 9 boxes of Jello was an important lesson and the one which cost less than $7.

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