Photos Showing the Bewildering Array of Choices on Store Shelves

Choices is a Warhol-esque (or Gursky-esque) project by photographer Richard Stultz, who visited various stores to document the mind-numbingly large number of choices consumers are faced while shopping. He states,

When we shop, we are presented with aisles of thousands of different products. There are shelves with an endless variety of similar items, often just a variation on the ones next to them. Other shelves display large quantities of identical products. We may find 50 types of beer, hundreds of jars of bleach, or graphic displays of soap. There are cans of dog food with descriptions that sound as appetizing as anything we might cook for ourselves. There are so many shades of hair coloring that we can’t distinguish between many of them.

Beyond the astounding quantity and selection, retail displays are often visually interesting with striking design elements, color, and repetitive patterns. But as we shop and try to find the perfect product, we often don’t see the perverse beauty of these choices.

Choices by Richard Stultz (via iGNANT)

Image credits: Photographs by Richard Stultz and used with permission

  • jonathanjk

    I recommend the ‘Paradox of choice’ by Barry Schwartz if anybody is interested in the effects of having too much choice.

  • Camil Tang

    Would be cool to compare the choice variety between rich & poor neighborhood

  • Heathermariel

    These are silly. If you look at the milk image, it is really just a choice of 4 different kinds in varying size cartons. And the stuffed monster image has only three different monsters. This is not too much choice, these are legitimate choices. If you can’t navigate the choices in a supermarket…..

  • JaneÅndDoug Howell

    You’ve gotta love Capitalism, thank you Adam Smith! This is cool that there’s this much choice in our free capitalistic society. 

  • Tzctplus -

     Think again. In all but one of the pictures the items photographed are all the same brand.

  • Raya

    I think that our society is blessed with abundance and diversity.  I remember a photograph of a Russian store back in the Cold War days with a line of people snaking around a block, all of them waiting for the store to open.  Some of them had been waiting since the wee hours.

    Why such a big line-up?  Because this was the day when meager supplies were delivered to this store and people had heard there was going to be toilet paper in the shipment.

    No abundance, no diversity…and, ultimately, no toilet paper.  As I said, our society is blessed.

  • rtfe

    is it a blessing to have so much crap that our crap now has more crap than ever??

  • Aaro Keipi

     Better than having no crap at all!…I think.

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