Stay Tuned/Rag and Bone Buffet II

From Eccentric Flower

 



stay tuned
 



Rag and Bone Buffet
22 April 2007


Slow week, in terms of things which just fly out of the newspapers. Everything I pulled out this week was old business of one kind or another - either more about something I already wrote about, or additional evidence on something I am planning to write about in the future.

I also have an accumulating body of tidbits which struck me as worth note when I clipped them, but upon examination I find I have nothing too insightful or pungent to say about them - just observations in passing.

I suppose it's during spells like these that I should be mining material from alternate sources, such as television ads - but the fact is, for the last couple of weeks I've watched less TV than even my usual meager consumption - approaching zero. It makes me wonder if any day now INS is going to knock on my door and deport me for not fulfilling my citizenship requirements. (I believe INS has been absorbed into the Office Of Homeland ParanoiaSecurity, which doesn't help soothe this fear a bit.)

Anyway, apart from noting that the rash of ill-advised promotional tie-ins for Spider-Man 3 has begun, and the usual rant about that topic (which distills to: I don't understand greed, and never will), I got nothing much new. So let's deal with the leftovers.


Follow-up first.

Half of last week's column is now officially a historical artifact; I got it in just under the deadline, apparently. The Littleton Coin Co. ads for the set of Sacajawea dollars, at least for the moment, are obsolete. This week they are offering you a set of two of the new George Washington dollars - one of Philadelphia issue and one of Denver issue, sealed in some sort of plastic package (which I suspect would make a real coin collector cringe). Price for two dollars and a heat-sealed plastic sleeve about the size of a credit card: $4.95.

Chutzpah: The ad copy says that by ordering this you will "Save 38%". It does not say what one will be saving 38% in relation to, and one suspects this is deliberate.


The other follow-up is a comment pertinent to the rant on "food for the lazy" on 26 March. I have here an ad for Oscar Meyer Deli Creations (Kraft). What you get is a box containing some sort of lunchmeat, some sort of cheese, a condiment of some sort, and a prebaked roll which must contain god knows what chemicals in order to have any sort of shelf longevity. In other words, you are being sold a kit which you then assemble to make a sandwich.

I have not yet checked the price of this product, so I will not argue the economics - although I'm betting it is no bargain. However, it strikes me that, even for the lazy, this does not represent much savings of time and effort over buying a package of the meat, buying a package of the cheese, and a roll, and doing exactly the same assembly job. Bonus: That way you have enough meat and cheese to make more sandwiches! And the bread will be better.

Here's hoping this one doesn't sell, even to the lazy - who, frankly, will just go get a pre-made sandwich from the supermarket's deli case (and likely still get a better sandwich).


Now I think I had better clear some items out of the Non-Food file which aren't anything but passing comments, just to have done. The fact that these are non-foods is not coincidence. I find that, for whatever reason, I have more to say about foodstuffs in general. I'm not sure why that is. Anyway, we commence the whirlwind tour:


The Sun Also Razors Dept. For a while, Bic seemed to be contented with owning the low end of the cutthroat razor market. (By which I mean that the market is very competitive, not hazardous to your health.) But they seem to be experimenting with stepping out of that niche. I have here ads for new men's and women's razors from them which are clearly designed to compete with Gillette's and Schick's higher-end stuff.

But I did not note these ads because of that market observation. I noted them because their new women's razor is called the Soleil. Yes, you read that right. And it comes in six bright flavorscolors: banana, tangerine, orange, strawberry, and lime and grape. And I'm not really kidding about the latter two being "flavors" because they in fact have scented handles: "citron" and lavender, respectively. And the product's slogan is "Feel the Soleil." And it has a website. And I cannot possibly ever want for material as long as companies keep doing things this inherently silly.

Feel the Soleil. Good god almighty. Should we cut the Bic people some slack because they're French?


Newfangled Ideas Dept. Vanity Fair paper napkins (Georgia-Pacific) are offering a free music download with purchase. Someone told them that this download stuff is all the rage today, but they don't really get it; they are mumbling the incantations without understanding what they do. Cargo cult marketing. "What's a party without a soundtrack?" says Phoebe Fontaine, "the Official Hostess for Vanity Fair napkins."

That's the sort of job you lie about on your resumé.


This Can Only End Badly Dept. Wahl, who make electric hair trimmers, have repackaged their standard trimmer+case+instruction book set as "The Complete Haircutting Kit for Dummies.". Yes, they licensed the branding from the damned books (or I presume they did, because they use the colors and visual elements of those books, so if they didn't, someone's gonna sue).

That sound you hear is a fresh generation of children cringing in terror from misguided parents who think they can suddenly become decent barbers.

I dislike the "Dummies" line on principle anyway. It's even worse when paired with something which has such immediate and definite consequences for doing it wrong. Coming up next: Home Gas Repair for Dummies. That'll thin the herd a bit.

(Yes, I have written a set of plumbing instructions for novices, and have a similar project in the works on minor home wiring. But if you fail to appreciate the distinction between instructions for novices and instructions which assume the audience is a group of idiots, see me after class. And I would never think to advise on things which truly demand a professional. Like competent haircuts. I've known a couple of good amateur barbers. They'd been doing it for years, they did not use electric hair trimmers, and even then they had their share of disasters. I was sometimes one of those disasters.)


And, last and least:

Ellipsis Dept. Glade (S.C. Johnson) has a product they call Car Scented Oil. Even knowing what it has to be, I find that every time I look at the ad I assume they are selling oil that smells like a car.


P.S. The last time I did a Rag and Bone Buffet - which, I have only just now realized in typing that link, was also a late April - one of the items was a mention of this new product Viagra. It is worth reading for the Backstory added later.

I doubt that there are any surprises like that in this lot. I don't expect the Oscar Mayer sandwich kits to still occupy radar space nine years from now.


and now back to our program


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