For those of us living in a developed country, there is a plethora of choice for every aspect of what we buy and do every day. So, after living abroad, it was strange that the choices I so eagerly anticipated upon my return to the developed world were, at times, overwhelming.

My first trip to the supermarket was one of those times. Three hours later (!!) I emerged having made hundreds of decisions about just what the family would eat and use that week. Standing in front of the salad dressings I contemplated Lite, No Fat, Organic, Creamy and Reduced Calorie. At the meat counter I considered No antibiotics? Grass fed? Organic? 75%, 80% or 90% Lean? At the paper products I decided between single, double or triple roll? Soft? Strong? Scented? Unscented? I was exhausted before I even got close to the eggs or the ice cream, which I just closed my eyes and grabbed.

I surmise that for any of us to navigate all the choices we face every day, we probably have an internal system for choosing, whether we are conscious of it or not. How do you choose? Do you always just choose the lowest, in-the-middle or highest priced item? Such a system would greatly simplify choosing. Do you choose what your friends choose? What things influence your choices?

Do the people that made it matter? Does quality of workmanship matter? Does the eco-impact matter? Does where it was made or from what matter? Do the values of the company that is making it or selling it matter?

Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes! All these things matter to Out of Asia, as well as the important ability for our purchases to delight us.

It’s a ‘win’ many times over when our delight, like the ripple in a pond from a pebble just tossed, reaches back to those that have used the skills passed on from many generations before them, to produce something of such captivation and beauty. Purchasing hand made global cultural arts does that.

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