I’m a small-town girl, who recently moved to the suburbs.  I find myself faced with so many new decisions. How do suburb dwellers figure out where to shop?

For example, when I need something for my home, perhaps a dishtowel.  In the small, mountain town where I used to live, I would go to Walmart, buy the towel and be home within a few minutes.

Now I live within ten minutes of three Walmarts. How do I choose? I can go to the one that is near the Kickboxing gym.  Maybe I’ll workout on the way there, but then I’ll be sweaty. Although, people in animal print leggings and bedroom slippers won’t care much about my messy bun and red face.

I can go to the Walmart near Costco.  Wait! Costco is only ten minutes away, too.  The wholesale warehouse sells dishtowels.  Do I need a pack of ten?  I could give them as gifts next Christmas.

Or do I venture north to an entirely new Walmart? With a different floorplan. And different traffic patterns. I could get stuck in a left turn lane and never return.

But, wait, there are three Targets within ten minutes of my house. Target would carry a more upscale selection.   I could go to the Walmart that is nearest a Target for even more choices. Then I could spend an hour exploring the options in both stores before making a selection.

Or, I could go to one of the plethora of craft supply stores to buy a towel that I decorate myself.  Or the mall.  I live near several malls. Or a kitchen specialty store.

More often than not, I discover that all of the stores carry the same two choices. After visiting five stores and the mall, I go home to order a dishtowel online.

How can stores compete in such close proximity?  Home Depot is next to Lowes.  When I need “hardware”, where do I go?  Office Max is across the street from Staples.  PetSmart and Petco. Whole Foods and Sprouts. Michaels and Hobby Lobby.  Makes my head spin.

It took me a while to find a post office. I’m not sure the one I use is even where I would go to pick up a package or put a hold on my mail.  But, why are there so many mailboxes?  Most of them say the same thing.  Which box do I use? Why not just make one big mailbox?

And don’t get me started on restaurants.  I’m surrounded by new fast, casual chain restaurants.  Ooh, the temptation.  Eating out is one of the fastest ways to blow my budget. My husband doesn’t care what he eats and doesn’t understand the temptation.  Sometimes I sneak out to a fun little restaurant for lunch while he’s at work. He doesn’t even realize how much it costs him to live surrounded by yummy restaurants.

After a year, I’m finding my go-to stores so that I can spend less brain power on decision making.  Maybe that’s what native suburbanites do.  Just pick a store and call it good.

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