We think we’re free to choose but …

  • did you know you blink more as you get to your supermarket checkout?
  • Have you noticed that the aisles that have things which are mainly for women tend to be wider than the others??  (must look, next time I’m there!!)
  • If a consumer researcher looked in your bathroom and kitchen cupboards he would be able to predict, fairly accurately, the car you drive (or don’t drive) and where you spend your holidays???

‘We are never more closely observed in our western society than when we are making choices. A huge and sophisticated consumer research industry exists solely to predict, stimulate and manipulate our life choices, in a world that it treats as one big market place.’

(Hence the irritating pop-up ads, targeting our apparent ‘interests’).

‘Choice is a contemporary obsession. To have ever-increasing choices and the means to indulge them is regarded as a definitive sign of a culture that is socially and economically thriving.’

(So in a recession the first thing many of us notice is that, because we have less money in our pockets, we get less choice).

‘But choice today comes to us in a particular packaging. It is not value-free. The controlling market ideology requires the constant stimulation of choice, without regard to actual need …’

We know we don’t need some of these things. It’s just nice to have them.

‘… All the evidence is that our society finds exercising responsible choice extremely difficult.  We are a culture characterised by compulsive and addictive behaviour patterns’ (so Teresa May has to bring in a law to make getting massively drunk more difficult, because people are not choosing responsibly). ‘Life is reactive rather than proactive.  The reason that so many seek counselling lies in a sense of personal powerlessness, of having no choice.  A key strategy in helping people through stress is to enable them to understand and to manage their own personal choices.  Responsible and creative choice-making has become a lost vocation of our times.’

Skype Emoticons

(From Runcorn, ‘Choice, Desire and the Will of God’)



      1. Well, I think that the main reason is that nowadays there are too many choices. When we were younger we didn’t have these sort of choices it was black or white but nowadays its every colour of the rainbow to choose from (if that makes sense?).


  1. Ghastly old business…:no: Humans are so suggestible and sheep like…. baa baa… I am fascinated to know if anybody looking in my bathroom cabinet could really predict my car…. unless they just said…. Old and battered…. that would be about right 😉


      1. One of the advantages of being super skint most of the time is you can’t let yourself get tempted with too much….no matter how much you might want to be tempted! :))


      2. Absolutely won’t argue with that! In fact having spent a lot of my life being skint I am rather proud of the way I have made the money go round … it’s just no good wanting what you can’t have 😉


  2. I’ll tell you what, the methods they use to assess our interests must be absolute rubbish judging by the pop-ups I get! The other thing is when I have bought something what need do I have to buy more ofthe same. I bought three eau de toilette sprays three years ago. At the rate I use perfume they are very nearly finished so I went back to the same website when paypal was offering a discount and bought three more exactly the same. In 2015 I’ll probably buy some more; until then I need no pop-ups.


      1. I cannot disagree with this: “Responsible and creative choice-making has become a lost vocation of our times.”

        Such ‘choice-making’ has been most elusive for many people for a very long time…;)xx


      2. Sometimes we think we’re choosing … when we aren’t … and then sometimes we don’t think we have a choice … when we do … and then again, sometimes we would rather someone else chose for us, when we should do it ourselves … 🙄 :no:


  3. So true! I sometimes fine it liberating not to have choice, you want something and they only have one type so you just get it. Job done.

    I try not to get things I really do not need but now and then it does happen to all of us.


    1. I know what you mean … and sometimes it is nice to be able to get something we don’t really need, although I don’t make a habit of it …but I do like to go to smaller supermarkets for food shopping – it just makes choosing so much easier!


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