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A faster horse and a menu? No thanks.

Choice is my chosen topic today. Are choices good or bad?

Every day I head out in search of something to eat at lunchtime and every day I have an internal debate about what to have. If I’m with someone it becomes external and lasts even longer.

Choice doesn’t end when a restaurant is selected either. If you’re like me and enjoy most things that can reasonably be placed in one’s mouth and swallowed then the terrible burden of choice multiplies when a menu arrives in one’s chosen eatery.

Zeavola's yummy skewers!

Zeavola in Koh Phi Phi, Thailand delicious skewers

“IT ALL LOOKS YUMMY” says the message my tummy to my brain.

“WHAT DO YOU FANCY?” says the message that goes back rather desperately hoping for some vague focus.

“EVERYTHING PLEASE.”

Not helpful.

So suddenly I’m sat with a menu the size of my torso, 50 possible meals and a waitress hovering over me desperate for me to eat and get out so that more people can come in.

I was whinging about this problem at lunch today which is why it’s on my mind. I didn’t have to worry about where to eat and what because as it happens I was eating with the general manager of one of SLH’s hotels. I find GMs of hotels always seem to know what they want, when they want it and what will happen if they don’t get it how they like it when they want it.

As I laid out my inability to choose he said something rather interesting. Choice is not always a luxury. Occasionally it’s a total pain in the you know what.

The logical argument is the more things you have to choose from the better because then you can have exactly what you want.

But he said: “If Henry Ford had asked his customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse.” Henry apparently made this point himself back in the Model T days.

His argument was that often we don’t know what we want. And we don’t want to have to decide. Especially on holiday when often main aim is to use our brains less. A real luxury is to have a chef or waiter tell you the red snapper was caught half an hour ago and is delicious. Job done, I’ll have one of those.

Or if you don’t know what to do in a city you’ve never been to, don’t try to work it out. Just ask the concierge whose job it is to know what you might enjoy.

Relax. Stay somewhere small with knowledgeable personal service. And let them point you gently in the right directions. That’s luxury.

Chocolate Tort with Orange Syrup at Rockliffe Hall

Chocolate Tort with Orange Syrup at Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, UK

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