Author : Thomas Fay

‘Some cereal as well, thanks,’ I said to the checkout operator. I didn’t specify what kind as there was no need. There was only one kind of cereal. It was nutritious, filled with all sorts of grains, nuts and dried fruits. Shame it had no taste. Not like Froot Loops.

I miss Froot Loops.

‘Will there be anything else, sir?’ the checkout operator asked. She looked to be about sixteen with long hair, an acne ridden complexion and a vapid look in her eyes. I guess some things never change.

It’s a shame everything else had.

‘No, that’s it.’

I handed over my credit card and watched as she deftly swiped it through the wafer thin reader. Seeing a satisfactory green light flash up, she handed the card back to me.

‘Thank you for shopping at Food Land. Have a nice day, sir.’

I smiled despite myself. This wasn’t shopping. Shopping involved selection, a choice made on mood, appetite, financial capacity and personal taste. The elimination of brands had removed choice. There was no more orange juice, apple juice or pineapple juice. Now there was simply juice. It kind of tasted like all the other flavors combined.

Looked like it too.

Most of the time I didn’t mind the lack of variety, the single words describing items as ‘butter’, ‘bread’, ‘coffee’ without any colorful packaging or creative names. It certainly made shopping easier.

And it had staved off inevitable disaster.

It was amazing that it took people so long to figure out just how much energy and materials were wasted on packaging, branding and oversupply. Companies had attempted to diversify their products to the point where almost every single individual was being catered for. A chocolate bar which had at some distant point in time been conceived as simply ‘chocolate’ flavor had evolved into about fifty different flavors; dark, white, fruit, nut, fruit & nut, dark fruit & nut.

The list went on and on.

Now that was all a thing of the past. Landfills were no longer overflowing with colorful packaging and expired groceries. The world’s population of ten billion was adequately fed and able to focus on more pressing matters.

Like saving what little flora and fauna we had left.

I didn’t mind the lack of choice. I understood why it was necessary and how it had saved humanity. It kind of reminded me of my childhood, growing up under a Communism regime in Eastern Europe. In those days grocery store shelves had been empty and people queued for hours just to get their hands on exotic fruits such as oranges and watermelons.

I guess that’s probably why I can live without the variety better than others. But there are still times that I think back to the days when grocery store isles had been filled with multitudes of colorful boxes, cans and packets. Some part of me missed those days.

And Froot Loops. I still miss Froot Loops.


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