My sister has a mantra “Why be plain?” and it seems that the retail industry has embraced it too.  

Why have a plain black crock pot when you can have one with a multi-colored pattern?  Why have just silver duct tape when it can come in dozens of colors and themes?  Why have lint rollers that are white when you can have ones with pink geometric shapes or purple animal prints?  Why have solid colored diapers when you can have tie-dyed ones or patterns?  Why just a flesh-colored bandage when you can have super heroes or neon?

The list goes on and on.  Once you are attuned to this phenomenon, you’ll see the world in different ways.  You may relish the options and color that the anti-plain movement has ushered into our lives.  Or you may lament the overwhelming number of choices it requires, as well as the space it requires to stock them.

Pay attention to the number of things that now come in a “variety” or with a flourish were previously there was only one.  Henry Ford said that his car came in any color you wanted, as long as it was black.  He must be rolling over in his grave.

All this vibrancy has a cost.  Make your foray into the “why be plain” universe with intentionality.  If your message is powerful, may work just as well in a plain white envelope.

— beth triplett

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