The Guilty Party

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Too Many, Too Much, Too Little

There are a few phrases that anyone who has worked retail for any amount of time is bound to hear a lot. "Just looking", of course, is Top of the Charts. Another perennial favorite is "When is this going to be on sale, hmm?", which really means "Lower the price for me today, why don't you?" Just a little ways down the list has got to be "There are too many choices. I can't make up my mind." At that point the good salesperson will step in, bring clarity to the situation with a few well considered and rehearsed questions, lead the customer along the path of decision making and the register rings happily.

It makes me wish that a person had ones own salesman. The benevolent kind, expert at getting to the heart of the matter, cutting through the nonsense and distractions and bringing focus, direction and, most especially, a decision. Why this desire for a personal sales force, a species most people declare to be annoying and dangerous to family finances? Because in life there is just too much to choose from.

Never mind the more substantial issues in life, today we will just consider the entertainment options. A few months ago we decided to subscribe to Netflix, that company that has been getting battered about in the news and online lately for their recent rate hike and decision (there's that word!) to split into two companies, one streaming directly to computers and televisions and the other mailing out DVD's and blu-ray discs. On the one hand this has been a wonderful thing. I have watched a couple of classic episodes of the oh-so-classic television program The Dick Van Dyke Show, allowing me to at once marvel at the timelessness of the material and talent and wallow in a deep trough of nostalgia. Together with my wife I have watched old favorite movies I thought I would never see again, such as The Ghost and Mr. Chicken with Don Knotts, and Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation with James Stewart. Both of them terrific flicks, but hardly worthwhile purchasing as DVDs. Through the mailing service we have found some wonderful movies we never would have discovered without the clever recommendations Netflix has in place. All well and good, eh? But here's the problem. The new television season is upon us, and although there are only a few shows we care to watch on a regular basis, often as not we don't have time to watch those. And yet now we have a backlog of half a dozen films ready to be sent to us in the mail and I have foolishly created a list of at least thirty movies, documentaries and old television programs in our "Instant Queue". We've only had the service for a few months and already I know we will never, ever get to watch everything that interests us. That is more than a bit depressing and can actually be just a tad debilitating. And when you add in the books I simply must read, the music that really should be listened to, really listened to, much more often, not to mention the theater, art museums, wine tours and street fairs clamoring for our time and attention and a person can be so overwhelmed with choices that it makes it almost impossible to enjoy one thing at a time, which in my experience is really the only way to truly enjoy anything. You're always thinking about what you are missing, which might be even better. Or maybe not.

So yes, it would be good to have somebody who could guide me in the direction of what I should do and do it with such consummate confidence that I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Right Choice has been made. No regrets, no pondering What Did I Miss In Order To Get This? A happy, satisfied customer of life.

Until I get the bill, that is.

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A Bit About Me

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I am a writer with a longtime interest in photography. I'm a dad, husband, photographer, and not very good guitarist. My first novel, Boomerang, is available in both paperback and ebook form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and As a matter of fact, my second novel, The Baer Boys, can be found at exactly the same places.