The Nominees are . . .


To solve last week’s puzzle I trudged-by-car to the west end on Friday afternoon. In anticipation of our major east/west thruway being closed for a freeway-bridge replacement this weekend, every driver in the National Capital Area had apparently decided — in a terrible example of synchronicity at its worst — to preemptively divert to an often-busy-but-usually-passable east/west road down in my part of the City.

After several kilometres, I turned north off this impromptu parking lot with a sigh of what turned out to be preemptive and misplaced relief. Something was still amiss. This shopping strip is always busy, but on Friday it was gridlocked. Short of a natural disaster, it’s beyond me why high-school students would be dismissed en masse at 2:30 PM, but it certainly added delightful delays on the north/south portion of my trek as traffic backed-up behind and around City buses boarding apparently endless numbers of thyroid-deficient students who had apparently never boarded buses before.

At last I pulled into my  target’s parking lot, and confirmed that it was just as under-privileged in appearance as I had recalled from my first trip. Exhibit A, Your Honours. Note the navy sandal on the concrete pillar, presumably placed there by the finder. Who would lose one shoe in a gritty parking lot and not notice?

Anyway, this all just shows how I suffer for my art. You’ll be glad to know that, after being once bitten, I returned home via another less-irritating route. There are no points for suffering needlessly.

Baby-stuff Emporium Staff

They did not reproach me as I took photos of their merchandise and merchandising techniques. They did not even approach me. I suspect they (singular use, trust me) did not notice me.

Notionally, retail outlets are designed to make it easy for you to buy stuff, but modern outlets are no longer staffed to meet this objective. But, as Someone in this household is wont to say, “Nothing is all good or all bad.” Certainly the appalling paucity of retail staff has this advantage: It is less likely that a store employee will even see you taking unapproved photos.


Several flagged the key problem: The object seemed too small for a human, even a baby human, as well as oddly constructed.

And the award goes to . . .

Jim R takes runner-up and will serve if our first-place finisher, Ken from Kenora, is unable to serve his complete term:

  • Jim R suspected it might be a dog coat but was thrown off by the stated purpose of the store, namely, a baby-stuff emporium.
  • Ken from Kenora had no such qualms and bravely put his chips on that square, sans qualification.

Bottom & top views.

There’s more good news: they’re on sale.

Reg price: $34.99. You do the math.

Unresolved Issues

Why did we switch gears from an award show to a beauty contest? Why not? Nothing about this makes much sense.

Why didn’t I see the sign the first time? I refer you to this background article on my powers of observation.

Why *is* a baby-stuff emporium selling dog coats? I might have asked a clerk, but, well, you know.


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14 Responses to The Nominees are . . .

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    Whoa! whoa! What’s this stuff about “excludes clearance items with 8 cent endings”? Why is it okay to offer 25% off on an item ending in 9, which will end up with a fraction that has almost as many decimal points as pi, but not okay to apply the same discount to an item ending in 8, which will divide out (relatively) neatly? Or is ending-in-8 some kind of code phrase understood only by hard-core retailers?

    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – You must be confusing me with someone who has access to a retail staff member. 🙂 I suspect that items ending in 8 cents are already discounted, but I sure don’t know. Add it to the Unresolved Issues.

  2. barbara carlson says:

    “There are no points for suffering needlessly.” Any fool can be uncomfortable, I told John 45 years ago when I said my philosophy in life was “getting myself comfortable” — and he was aghast, being a Brit who believes hardship builds character, viz. short pants on little boys in England even in winter — all those blue knees…
    But he has come round to my Philosophy — which not only covered physical but psychological & economic, comfort. (I’m from California.)

    And as for why the dog jacket was in the children’s section — think about it — how many adults treat their dogs (and cats) like their children !?

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Barbara – Entropy would have its way with us (and does win eventually) so expending the effort to carve out little oases of comfort/order seems more sensible than expending even more effort to tolerate the discomfort gracefully.

  3. So good to know! But such a bundle of trouble solving the mystery. Inspiring, really!
    Apart from the peculiar psychology of pricing items a couple of cents below the full dollar amount to create an impression of “savings,” I did not know prices also contained coded messages.
    The remaining Unsolved Mystery is how many mothers bought a doggie coat for an infant (a) by mistake and (b) with a more imaginative flair than mine for fitting a baby into it.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Laurna – LOL – Less inspiring, perhaps, was the procrastination that led to me making this trek on a Friday PM: surely the worst driving time of the retail-hours week! I guess it might serve as one of those newfangled baby bags, or bundling assists, if one just ignored the leg-holes.

  4. Darn, I shouldn’t have been so tentative…..
    I would be pleased to accept should Ken from Kenora be unable to serve his term
    PS: Costco, for one, codes their prices to some extent by the pennies digit. If it ends in (a number I forget) it is a discontinued item on clearance. Might be other codes as well.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim R – If you’re like me, you’ll take this to heart and be more emphatic . . . the next time you’re wrong. 🙂 C’est la vie. Thanks for the info on costing codes. Simple, yet powerful.

  5. John Whitman says:

    Isabel – regarding dog coats in a children’s clothing store.

    Have you not heard that many pet owners refer to their pets as “fur babies”? If that term is unfamiliar, maybe it is a Gen-x or Millennial thing?

    Personally, I hate the term.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      John – 🙂 I don’t think of dogs or cats as any kind of baby. In the unlikely event I wanted a dog coat I’d look in a pet-stuff emporium. Evidently, the marketers know their market better than I do. Good for them.

      • John Whitman says:

        As I said, I hate the term “fur baby”. But, it is very common with the 20 and 30 year olds of today. Most of whom don’t have human children.

        • Isabel Gibson says:

          John – There must be an academic discipline that studies these language fads – their origins, dispersion, and eventual demise or regularization throughout the speech community.

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