We have a lot of options in life. Some would argue that we have too many options these days, in fact. Those people are total killjoys who need to shut up, but nevertheless, they do have science on their side. In his 2004 book The Paradox of Choice -- Why More Is Less, psychologist and frequent New York Times contributor Barry Schwartz floated the idea that having an abundance of options in life actually makes us depressed.
Fewer options could have prevented the "half-sprinkles guy" from ruining doughnut day.
So, knowing this, what's a person to do to avoid the soul-crushing depression that comes along with having so many choices in life? Well, you can start by eliminating some of the options you have in your own life. We talk about a few ways to do that on this week's Unpopular Opinion podcast ...
... where I'm joined by Cracked video person Michael Swaim and some other guy named Brett Rader. Specifically, we talk about a few different ways you can decide where to spend your hard-earned money. For example ...
#4. Be Loyal to Any Drive-Thru that Gives You Ketchup Without Asking
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If there's one thing you'll never run out of, it's places to buy shitty fast food. It's so readily available, in fact, that Type II diabetes is actually easier to get than water in a lot of parts of the country. No matter how desolate and drought-stricken that small town in California may be, chances are there's at least a Subway nearby, if not a full-on oasis of truck stops and fast food restaurants.
Once you move on to more populated areas, your fast food options increase exponentially. So, how do you decide where to eat without buckling under the weight of a seemingly endless array of possibilities? Food preference? Stop being stupid, all of this shit tastes exactly the same. Besides, if you start getting all reverent over food quality, they'll start thinking they can get away with anything. That's precisely how In-N-Out Burger has managed to stay in business for so many years despite not having bacon on their menu.
And bacon is precisely what a sandwich like this needs.
So, no, you definitely don't want to let on that you find the food irresistible. Actually, make it a point to not find any fast food irresistible, just for the overall betterment of society in general. Instead, if you're looking to purge your circle of chain restaurant friends, pay attention to the little details. Like napkins, for example!
Anyone with a working knowledge of fast food knows that the only way to enjoy it without looking like the most disgusting degenerate on Earth is to do so with a stack of approximately 16 to 20 napkins (per item) nearby. If a drive-thru place forgets to give you napkins once, that's fine, it happens one time. But, if the fast food restaurant you frequent seems to have an ingrained, systematic policy of shorting you on clean-up gear, forcing you to ask every time, that's a problem. Shorting you on napkins intentionally is some cost-saving bullshit that should not be tolerated.
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These will spend just like money in the fast food industry's version of the apocalypse.
Still, even if you do find that one fast food place that routinely gives you napkins (or a straw), that really shouldn't be enough to identify them as your best or favorite option. Giving you those things is part of the unspoken agreement fast food restaurants have with their customer base. They should not be widely applauded for simply doing what they're supposed to do.
Instead, let ketchup do the deciding for you.
Reminder: Ketchup on chicken should be a war crime.
Depending on your age, you might remember a time not long ago when including ketchup packets with a fast food order was just the accepted law of the land. At least, if you ordered fries it was, which seems like a perfectly reasonable threshold to me. At some point, though, as more and more companies started exploring new and exciting means of saving money, the obligatory ketchup packet became a thing of the past, for the most part. Today, finding a restaurant that gives you everything you might possibly need to enjoy your deliciously life-threatening meal upfront without you asking is about as common as a legitimate UFO sighting.
In other words, it totally happens, it's just not the kind of thing you're going to hear a lot of chitter-chatter about, because we're talking about fucking ketchup, among other things. Still, at some point, you may in fact encounter that rare restaurant that ignores the bottom line in favor of making sure you're happy. If you do, reward their efforts with your loyalty while simultaneously hoping every other fast food restaurant that ever mistreated you falls victim to what I like to affectionately refer to as a "rat party" scandal.
It serves them right for not serving you right.
#3. Buying Local Should Never Mean Smelling Like Patchouli
In the great debate about secondhand smoke, cigarettes get all of the press and attention, but for my money, no uninvited smoke scourge plagues this country quite like the smell of patchouli. If you can't place the scent by name, just think back to the last time you were in any room with a person wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt. Once you've retraced the unfortunate series of steps that led you to that predicament, thus assuring you don't wander down the same dark path again at some point in the future, think back to what that person smelled like.
That's patchouli. It basically smells like what being a Grateful Dead fan looks like, and people just burn that shit freely in public like that's a stink that doesn't stay with a person well after the actual smell has worn off. You don't want a person you know smelling you in that state, under any circumstances. If they do, no matter what you claim to the contrary, they will forever and always assume you're just a frustrated civilian who harbors secret dreams of sprouting a head full of white-boy dreadlocks and bothering the shit out of people with talk of Rastafarianism for the rest of your life.
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Let me hear what war has to say first then I'll get back to you.
That's not an image you want burned into people's minds when they think of you. So, what do you do? Avoid establishments that burn patchouli-scented incense, which is practically all of them? Sure, that's fine, but believe me when I tell you that rolling papers and pipe screens don't just buy themselves, especially in an emergency situation. Would it kill this planet to have one store where I can dip in and make a purchase of that nature without smelling like I know the guy who used to make all the acid in this country?
No, I can't, actually. On that front, it's a pointless argument. If you're a fan of elaborate "tobacco"-burning devices, you're going to smell like a dirty fucking hippie at some point. That doesn't mean patchouli can't help you narrow your shopping decisions a bit, though.
Every year, on whatever weekend falls closest to 4/20 (surprise!), the people of this country are pressured into supporting their local, independent record stores by way of an event called, fittingly enough, Record Store Day.
"Live Beyond Your Means Day" is an acceptable alternative name.
That's cool, but have you seen the prices at those places? Best Buy didn't run 95 percent of them out of business for nothing. Still, that's not a great thing, either, so you should totally lend a hand when you can by supporting some bullshit little store like that. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you're looking for a good reason to keep buying all your music online), lots of these independent record stores just amount to head shops with a music section.
Yes, there's a dusty bin of used records and they can certainly get you a new release if you have the patience of a Tibetan monk and a robust enough bank account to support such an endeavor, but for the most part, it's just a place to buy stuff with which to smoke weed. Does this describe your local independent record store? If so, does it smell like patchouli in there? If so, fuck them and Record Store Day, buying music shouldn't involve sharing in some crust-ridden Sublime fan's terrible life choices.