Saturday, October 15, 2011

Strengthening the Adult ego state

Today is Saturday and that means laundry washing day for me. Hey I am a regular kind of guy! As I embarked on this most OCD of all OCD tasks I discovered that my laundry powder had run out so I went to the supermarket to buy a new box of clothes washing laundry powder.

When I got there I was confronted with this wall of different types of laundry powder boxes all different shapes and sizes and colours all claiming different sorts of things. I thought

“S**t, all I want is a box of washing powder and I am going to have to make 30 decisions to end up with the one I want”.

Now I know what home work exercises to give my clients who are tormented with indecisiveness. To hone their decision making skills just go and buy some laundry powder.


So I started the process and decided on the size I want and the kind of money I want to spend. The rule of thumb with this kind of product in the supermarket is never buy the cheapest as the quality is crap. Also never buy the most expensive as they use the psychology that people will assume it is the best quality when it is no better than the average priced brand.

On a side note sometimes people ask me about how to pick a therapist, to which there is no easy answer but there is one thing I tell them not to do. Never pick the one with the biggest and most expensive advertisement. Now if one is choosing a plumber or an accountant it may be OK to pick the most expensive advert. But in choosing a therapist there is something not just right about the one with the most expensive advert. I can’t articulate why it’s just an intuitive conclusion. Having been in the counselling industry for 30 years, to me there is just something wrong with a therapist who presents self in the biggest advert.

However back to the topic at hand. I finally reached the point where I had decided on two possible items to buy. One was called Bam and the other was called Blast. That was my choice - Bam or Blast. Who thinks up these names? Some psychologist would have done a PHD on this. Someone would have received a doctorate for a study on the marketing psychology of laundry powder and concluded that names like Bam and Blast are the ones that would sell. Hey it worked on me!

Dog lady

Also as I pondered this decision one is confronted with a paradox. There are questions one muses over such as what does my life mean and who am I? And then I realise I am in a supermarket pondering on which product to buy - Bam or Blast!

So I made my decision and Blast it was. However there was still one decision to go. What scent do I want - lemon or frangipani? Do I want to smell like a lemon or smell like a flower when I wear my clothes? Last time I chose lemon because it seemed more manly to smell like a lemon as compared to a flower. But this time I chose frangipani because of late I have been developing my feminine side.

Flower woman

Today I have been walking around smelling like a flower. And after all that decision making I feel like I have to have a valium and have a lie down.



  1. Bam or Blast? Well, I guess those names are no worse than Omo (my choice - most expensive - sucker that I am).

    It is comforting to know that you have your own set of decision making problems. Hopefully they are confined to the supermarket.

  2. I am usually quite a decisive decision maker Linda, so there is no difficulty there its just that there was so many different ones to choose from!


  3. So, the same thing does not happen in the aisle where the jams are? Or milk? Or cheese? What about the toilet paper? So many choices, so much thinking before making a decision.

  4. Well you are right linda I could have just bought the same as I did the time before but I must have felt like I wanted a change. Maybe I was sick of smelling like a lemon. Toilet paper does also produce the same kind of situation though. So many different combinations of numbers and cost and quality!!


  5. Ha. I just went and checked and my washing powder is called Surcare. It is non bio, whatever that means. I would have gone for the blast too. Blast that dirt away!!!!! I wonder what product in the supermarket has most variants? Maybe cereal. I have 4 different varieties in my bowl in the morning. Muesli, granola, shred dies and crunchy nut cornflakes.

  6. Haha. This was the funniest thing I've read in a while.

    This is more of what happens to me when buying laundry soap:

    1) Figure out which section is laundry detergent and which one is fabric softener. They aren't clearly labelled until you see the back of them.
    2) Stare at the massive amount of options available wondering why the heck there are so many.
    3) Get annoyed that I have spent a minute staring at these things in disbelief.
    4) Grab one that looks promising and leave the aisle rather irritated that I wasted 2 minutes of my life trying to pick out soap.

    The above is true with almost any common-life item I am looking to buy.

    Sidenote: A while back when I was therapist shopping, I encountered one lady in particular. It was bad to begin with. I had called a week prior and schedule an appointment with her. As I do, I wrote down the date and time. Before hanging up, I verified this information with her. So I go up to her office on the day and she swears that I have come in at the wrong time, a few hours too early. I was furious that she was accusing me of being wrong. Anyway she talks to her client that was coming in and had her come back at the later time. So I am talking to lady therapist and it's just not going well. She spent almost the whole time trying to figure out all the diagnoses of the DSM that she would consider me. Before I even left her office, she was definitely eliminated as a possibility.
    Where I am therapists don't put out advertisements of themselves. In fact, I have never seen one here. But, three weeks after seeing this lady therapist, she had advertisements of her practice all over my apartment complex and many nearby others. To be advertising, it was obviously clear that she was lacking business. I wonder why!?! By the time I had saw her ad, I had already found a therapist I liked and he was in disbelieve when I brought in one of the ads that she had posted.

  7. How does you title to this post fit in?

    And where is Roses? I am going to search for her.......

  8. The machinations of commodity purchase Annalynn!

    Psychologists in Australia used to not be able to advertise but about 10 years ago they changed the law and now we can.

    Sounds like you were wise to avoid that therapist


  9. I see Roses on FB Kahless and I send her little notes but she just continually never responds back to me. So maybe she is angry at me or something like that.

    So you use Surcare laundry powder. That has a very Nurturing Parent ego state sound to it. Maybe it appealled to your motherly nurtuting side and thus you bought it?


  10. You must have a strong feminine side to know frangipani is a flower (I had to Google it). Impressive! The supermarket is no place to linger. To me, it’s a war zone. Get in, do what I have to do, then get out. Based on name alone, I would have selected Blast. Blast makes me think of blowing the dirt to smithereens; Bam makes me imagine pounding the dirt in. Perhaps laundry manufacturers should make scents that appeal to men…like sulfur, beer, or trout :)

  11. That is a good point KYLady about scents for men. Perhaps they think it is women who will most often buy the product and women are usually wanting their husbands to increase their feminine sides as well.

    Frangipani is a very common plant in this part of the world, so alas I cannot be as impressive on that one as I may want to be.