Can you guess what the all time hated aisle for any expat is? Okay, the photo gave it away if you were wondering.
I don’t have solid research on this, but I believe this has to be one of the top 5 places expats hate to visit in the US. I have this theory because, having lived overseas for a-hem several years now, every expat I have talked to gets the same look and pretty much says the same thing, Oh, I just stand there for hours looking at all the choices not knowing what to put in the over-sized cart.
What is it about that aisle? I like lists if you haven’t noticed, so here are my lists of why cereal aisles make us tense up.
1. The aisle is a mile. Have you noticed this? I mean it is the entire length of the aisle and at least 4 shelves high. The pure size of it overwhelms me.
2. The number of choices. So, the aisle is a mile long and each shelf has rows upon rows of every kind of cereal you can imagine. Take for instance a simple flaky type cereal. You can get it bran, frosted, fruity, low-fat, and, and, and. And if you know what type of flake you want, then you have 4+ brands to choose from. I’ve gotten used to only have, at the most, five choices to choose from. Period.
3. The shouting of words. I’m a writer, so words tend to jump out at me. The cereal boxes are no different. I feel like the boxes are shouting their greatness, their newness. “Low-fat!” “Low-carb!” “Healthy Eating!” “Great for the Heart!” And that doesn’t even cover the “prizes” that are inside ~ which my kids have now figured out. I think having lived overseas I can’t always read what the boxes are shouting, so it is like they are on mute. You think?
So, what to do about this “problem”? I haven’t totally figured it out. My plan thus far has worked out fine. I tell my mother what kinds of cereal we “like” and let her bring them home. Then when we need to buy more, I search for the exact same box ~ if the kids liked it that is.
Your Turn: Do you like the cereal aisle? How do you tackle it when you are back in the US? Please share in the comments below.
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It’s the cereal isle crazies! I just stopped eating the stuff….gone back to toast and honey and a little yogurt in the morning…and ride right on by that isle! Thanks for enjoyable post!
Glad you enjoyed it! I’ve enjoyed the yogurt as well here. I think that if we lived here longer than a month or so, that I’d skip the aisle altogether and just eat fruit and yogurt. The kids would shout for “pop-tarts”, which I don’t like them to eat very often, but they are special for when we are here. 😉
Worse is the potato crisps isle, I mean all the different snacks. When I started out as a student in the Netherlands, after growing up in Africa, I think I bought the bare necessities and just skipped the snack isle. It was just “too” much. In Zimbabwe at the time we had one or two brands of crisps with a couple of different tastes. Overwhelming!
Yes, that those crisps are another aisle I do avoid. Every time we “return” there are new flavors to try. I have gotten hooked on the “Salt and Vinegar” ones for some odd reason and will miss those terribly when we go back home. HA!
Very funny! THat happened to me a few months ago. I was more overwhelmed by the bread section and the spices! Wow!
THAT is funny! The bread is irritating in the US. They don’t have that much of a selection, but in Germany I definitely have a hard time deciding what to buy. They all look so yummy and fresh!
I totally forgot to write this in the post. This post was inspired by my friend, Craig, and his post about the cereal aisle and feeling like a used book after his return to the US from expat life in Asia. You can read it here: http://clearingcustoms.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/back-in-the-states-after-being-gone-for-a-long-time/
Thanks, MaDonna. Glad to inspire.
Actually, Craig, you inspired a short story/Flash fiction piece as well.
I have a love-hate relationship with the NZ supermarket when I go home. I love the choice, but hate the choice! Those first days back I get so overwhelmed I often don’t buy anything. Last year, it was the hummus section. I crave it here in Taiwan. When I went to buy some, I couldn’t believe the size of the shelves for hummus. Not only different flavors, but three or four brands for each flavor. Low-fat, normal, extra-fat, low-salt, extra-spicy, red, green, yellow… I nearly fainted.
Just reading the selections you have I almost fainted….I had NO idea that hummus had so many options!
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