Option paralysis

18 Sep

Right, I have this problem.

As a female I am good at many things.

(Staunch feminists – turn away now)

Looking after my husband
Making our flat sparkle
Being a friend
Making things look, sound, smell nice

But there is one particular thing I am terrible at. Awful.


Not just any shopping. The usual mooching around the shops is my specialty. I’m good at it. Bargain hunting is in the genes, and I actually find enjoyment in the weekly food shop. But this isn’t about that type of shopping, the type of shopping I’m talking about is a very specific type of shopping.

Rush Shopping.

Give me a tight time scale, and my decision making skills take a dive bomb into the swimming pool of non existence. Yup – they do a runner. Out of sight. Completely. Whether my list contains 10 items, or simply ‘dinner’ – I am likely to be found traipsing around the shops – dawdling.

Any onlooker would think ‘that girl obviously has the luxury of time’ as they watch me move from aisle to aisle, shop to shop, picking up and putting down. Oh yes, for a while I look chilled, calm and collected. But inside i’m screaming.

My worst is ‘dinner’. One word, so, so many options. Shops full of options, aisles full of options. Do I want a cheap dinner, a treat dinner, a healthy dinner, a lazy dinner? And don’t even get me started on the cuisine – Italian, French, Indian… you see where i’m going with this? After almost an hour or more of increasingly frantic shopping and desperate phone calls to the husband, all I am left with is the option of a ‘quick microwave’ dinner – as I have just shopped my evening away.

Let’s take last Wednesday for example. My list was ‘birthday card’. That’s all. One tiny little item and enough change in my pocket – I didn’t even have to waste time with the old chip & pin machine. So, how long could you do it in? 5 mins tops?

Let’s set the scene.

Time: 15 minutes (more than enough)
Location: Waterloo station
Potential shops: WH Smiths, Paperchase, Perfect presents, M&S….

Should be fine. In the words of the Meerkat – simples. But for me? Not so simples. The very first one I picked up was perfect – Marylyn Monroe pouting over a huge, tantalising birthday cake. Complete with birthday glitter. Any normal person would have paid the cash and gone on their leisurely way (plenty of time you see) to catch the train.


Nope. Every card was a possibility, every one had to be bettered. Too many cards. Too many. Far too many. As I wound myself up, hopping from shop to shop – time  did it’s thing and…ran out. Not satisfied, apparently, with any card that Waterloo’s mass of shops had to offer, I frustratedly jumped on the train. Just about.

Next was Clapham Junction station. An equally large amount of potential card shops crammed into one building await. With minus time on my hands, and whipped into a completely self-inflicted frenzy, I dash into two shops. Finally, after reading an entire books worth of funny lines and pictures, I settle on a card.

Marylyn Monroe pouting over a huge, tantalising birthday cake. Complete with birthday glitter.

Yes. I know.


3 Responses to “Option paralysis”

  1. scarletsculturegarden September 18, 2010 at 2:07 pm #

    You can be a feminist and a homemaker at the same time! Don’t let the staunch feminists push you around! Oh and I find shopping for certain items really difficult. I find it hard to get excited about clothes shopping now and then as well: I have to have not been into a clothes shop for a couple of months so they can restock before I’m genuinely excited again!

  2. Layla September 19, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    ha ha. sooooo frustrating…always the way though, isn’t it!!?? I do the same thing with internet shopping…spend way too long comparing options, comparing prices etc, until I have a list of options as long as my arm but I have to be somewhere & so leave my computer without any purchase. Drat!

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