Life Advice



Overwhelmed by Ice Cream

Annie Lane on

In my country, we have fewer ice cream choices, but they all taste good. Should I check myself to see if I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, or should I be concerned that we indeed have too many choices in America?

Another crazy complaint, if I may: I recently found out that a famous ice cream brand with a European label is not actually European. The first time I found this product, I happily told the clerk, who often sees me hanging around the ice cream aisle, that I had found a European ice cream.

He didn't seem surprised but actually looked concerned. I felt like an idiot after I found out it's made by an American corporation. No wonder he looked concerned.

So, this has been my problem, and I need a solution. Maybe you can help? -- Too Many Choices

Dear Choices: Isn't America great? The complaint in many countries is that there aren't enough choices, while your concern about this country is that we have too many choices of ice cream. That's a sweet thought.


In all seriousness, you bring up a good point that too many choices can actually be detrimental to your well-being. Psychology professor Barry Schwartz argues that having an infinite number of choices can be exhausting. We can set unrealistic expectations and then think we might have made the wrong choice.

Next time you go to the supermarket, make up your mind on the flavor you want before you enter, and don't let all the choices seduce you into swaying.


"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to




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