Choice is most flattering in its adjectival sense select, superior, elite. That’s how we’re meant to perceive Ohio-based Choice Brands (“a wholesale appliance distributor for Brands of Choice”), Choice Hotels International (an economy-to-mid-market chain that, naturally, offers a Choice Privileges program), and President’s Choice, Canada’s largest private-label brand (food and consumer products, mostly, but also financial services). With President’s Choice, we get a double whammy of elite-ness: If the president (of the company) chose it, it must be really special! But here’s a little secret: All of these Choices are wishful thinking. Truly elite brands never broadcast “elite” in their names.
And the Sam’s Choice label at Walmart is perhaps the least-elite brand of them all.
Still, the most blatant example of “choice” presenting itself as a superior option is in USDA beef grades: “Choice” is the second grade from the top, ranking below “Prime” but above “Select,” which used to be called merely “Good.” There are five grades below that, none of which are “Okey-Dokey,” as seen in a Food Clown ad in the Dacron Republican-Democrat, circa 1978.
Disclosure: I have wangled, over the years, several hundred dollars’ worth of freebies from the Choice Privileges program.