Cure for Anxiety due to Choice Overload

Brian Dickens Barrabee
4 min readMar 21, 2022

Those of us who enjoy going into an old fashioned diner or Jewish deli know what I’m talking about.

Pastrami sandwich with fries: by Pixabays

Ever been to a restaurant and be overwhelmed by the menu?

Diners and Jewish delis seem to take delight in offering an overwhelming number of choices. How do they keep that amount of food in the tiny kitchens behind those swinging aluminum doors.

Skyscraper high sandwiches stuffed with pastrami, brisket, turkey, roast or corn beef; choice of omelets Italian-style, Tex-Mex, French, Korean, California, a veritable United Nations of diversity.

The menu is usually encyclopedic.

Mostly, places like this have an adorable waitstaff, both male and female, who are young enough to not realize the difficulties and low pay of the job. They take such great delight in meeting new people they probably would serve the never ending party of foodies for nothing.

A little flirting, a smiley face on the tab, trying to catch a customer’s fancy. Niceties like that loosen a patron’s wallet for a generous tip or even better, a big tip and a drink after work.

And a happily ever after.

Chances are, if the diner or deli patron is like me — -he needs a little guidance.

It’s not enough to have my attractive young server proclaim,”It’s all good here!”

Every time I wade through one of those menus it looks to me: it’s all good here, without any prompting from the waitperson.

My problem: too many choices!

Option overload brings on an odd anxiety that, I’m quite sure, effects my digestive process.

At 79, I shouldn’t have tummy aches simply worrying about what to order for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is even before I’ve had my first bite.

My story:

In Philadelphia for business, it was suggested by an associate (Levi) we try a Jewish deli about which his father had always raved. It was in an area of the city that had fallen on hard times

But then, when his father went there back in the 1960’s the section was well on its way to slow ruin.

Brian Dickens Barrabee

Very much involved with the world and likes nothing better than writing about its absurdities. Award winning author who guarantees a laugh or two a story.