The All Time Hated Aisle

Cereal Aisle

photo by Rex Roof via flickr

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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13 thoughts on “The All Time Hated Aisle

    • 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. 😉

  1. 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!

    • 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!

  2. 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.

  3. Pingback: Can There Be Too Much Choice? It’s a Cultural Thing « Clearing Customs

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