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As I sit at the airport waiting for the connecting flight to New York before flying off beyond the azure main to Her Majesty’s land, I can’t help but marvel at one of the things most Americans like myself tend to take for granted.

Choices.

Looking for gas, earlier, I had the pick of either Shell or Chevron conveniently located near my place. At the coffee shop, Chai Latte, White Chocolate Mocha or a double shot of Espresso in my Cappuccino. Here at the airport, it was cinnamon-apple-walnut oatmeal, a breakfast burrito or some fruit yogurt (I went with the yogurt as my last healthy meal before abandoning all forms of inhibition once I land in the Cradle of Western Civilization.)

I remember as a kid in the Philippines, I’d go to the store near my school and ordering a sandwich was pretty straight forward. Ham sandwich or corned beef sandwich or tuna sandwich.

When I first walked into a Subway in suburban Michigan, I was hungry for a Steak and Cheese sandwich. “What kind of bread?” the chubby, gothic [teenager] asked me. “Uhhhh… what do you have?” In the 30,000 years of its existence, I had never been afforded the chance of choosing what way to cook my dough of flour and water. “There’s White, Wheat, Rye, Sour-dough, 7-grain…”

“Well… Let me try the Sour-dough.”

“Six inch or foot-long?”

“Foot-long.” It was slowly dawning on me why they called America the land of plenty.

“What kind of cheese? There’s Swiss, American or Provolone.”

Wow… I get to pick my cheese too? When in Rome… “American.”

“Veggies?”

“All of it.” I nodded.

“What kind of sauce?”

Just give me the d*mn sandwich already!

It really is such a great thing, to be fortunate enough to have all these options in front of us we can enjoy. Make no mistake, I am not taking a shot at how things were in the Philippines. I’m certain a lot has changed for the better over there since I migrated, but the fact of the matter is, I have never been so bogged down by having too many choices in any other country.

I believe that this is the result of a free market system. One that gives consumers the power to decide. I applaud businesses that have been able to monopolize their respective markets, however, it is through competition that companies can improve, renew, grow and set themselves apart. And when government steps aside and lets companies compete with each other, that is when we recieve the best value for our money. So, be glad you have choices. Somewhere out there the only option for beverage is water. Fight fiercely to defend that which allows us the variety in our lives, that is, our free market system.

Now then, all this writing and thinking has gotten my appetite complaining. I think I want something sweet. Should I get a Jamba Juice strawberry smoothie, a Smirnoff Ice or try the local restaurant’s rasberry iced tea?

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