Can you have too much choice?

A new Aldi’s grocery store has opened about a mile from my home. The foundation is being poured this week. I must ask:  Do we need a new grocery store? Within fifteen minutes of my home, the following grocery stores are available to me:

Stop & Shop Super Stop & Shop Whole Foods Price Chopper Roger’s Shaw's Waldbaum's Trader Joe's Stew Leonard’s BJ’s Wholesale Sam’s Club

And this doesn’t count the small, local grocers and butchers like Hall’s Market.

Do we really need another grocery store?

Consumer choice is a good thing, but the problem with all these stores is that people aren’t making any choices. I can’t tell you how many people I know who buy their meat at one store, their produce at a second store, their dry goods and dairy at a third location, and so on. This sounds fine and dandy on the surface, but all this choice is sending people all over town, clogging our roads, burning gasoline, producing CO2, and (worst of all) wasting inordinate amounts of time on the purchase of food.

Not to mention how inadequate and stupid some of these stores are.

Like Whole Foods. They’ll sell me a slice of pepperoni pizza but can’t deign to sell me a Coke to wash it down.

Or Stew Leonard’s, the amusement park version of a grocery store, equipped with just one aisle that zigzags through the store, complete with animatronic entertainment and carnival-like hawkers at every turn.

When I grew up, there was one grocery store in town. Almacs. If my parents chose to drive into the neighboring town, there were two more grocery stores available to us. That was it.

From my home today, I am a fifteen minute drive from twelve full-size grocery stores, one butcher and at least two smaller, local grocers.

I ask again: Do we really need to add an Aldi’s to the mix?