Are There Too Many Options?

17 Feb

America was founded on the premise that her citizens should have options, and not only options but, the freedom to choose among them. The founding fathers were primarily concerned with religion and politics but, the idea pretty much sums up the free market system, as well.

Which is exactly the problem. Sometimes there’s just too much to choose from.

While grocery shopping the other day I spent 20 minutes in the toothpaste aisle. It’s not that there are too many brands to choose from, it’s that each brand has an entire array of products.

There’s toothpaste to whiten, freshen, and protect; to ward off sensitivity, plaque and gingivitis; to battle germs, prevent bacteria and strengthen enamel. There’s regular, there’s gel, there’s some swirly combination of both. And then there are the flavors: Cinnamon, mint, citrus breeze, root beer, licorice, and, for those rare diehard carnivores, pork. There’s even one the brains at MIT allege can forecast the weather (I kid you not: Is it any wonder my brain short circuits if I even consider moving past “Regular Tooth Paste”?

But the real question is, why do I find it so annoying to wade through the broad selection of toothpaste but on the other spectrum, excessively liberating to have just as many, if not more, choices when buying a car?

The view from my office in the Butler Acura showroom includes any number of Fords, Acuras, Hyundais and Kias, one super clean Mini-Cooper, a Dodge Ram and a handful of Ford F-150s (to see what I see visit: They are new and previously loved, sedans and hatchbacks, trucks, crossovers and SUVs. They represent a host of options, colors, and possibilities. I love having the ability to see each and every one of them and, unless they’ve been sold by the time I get around to them, I plan to test drive them all. I’m looking forward to it.

So far, my “research” has put me behind the wheel of an Acura MDX, Acura RDX, Ford F-150 King Ranch, and a sweet 2011 Ford Mustang. This weekend, I drove one of Butler’s new powerful 2011 F-150 Lariats, you know, just to get a feel for the latest class of Ford trucks. In seeing my temporary ride, and knowing me the way she does, my mom smiled and nodded. “You have a good job,” she said.

So, I guess it comes down to passion. Obviously, someone (at Crest, Colgate and, apparently, MIT) is in love with toothpaste. For that person, the more toothpaste options, the better… even if he’s still driving the same car he’s had since high school. I, on the other hand will revel in every new car and truck that rolls onto our lot, while continuing to stick to Regular Crest. In doing so, both us are confirming our right to choose, upholding our freedom of choice. Being American.