Friday, October 7, 2011

Simple things that baffle me

Puzzle Number One Today I bought a safety jacket for the dogs, so they will be visible when I walk them on a winter's evening. It is very simple - some orange mesh, two narrow pieces of reflective tape, and one piece of elastic with a snap closure.

Dog safety vest

So why did it cost $27.99 plus tax, when the safety jacket I bought for myself  last year - with tons of reflective tape, velcro adjustments, pockets, the works - cost less than ten dollars???

People safety vest, front

People safety vest, back

Both are made in Canada, so the price difference doesn't reflect child labour or cheap environmentally-unfriendly production practices of countries that regularly import cheap goods to Canada. I'm baffled.

Well, it's pretty obvious to me - I look so much cuter in mine that you do in yours. 
Ya gotta pay more for 'cute', ya know!

Puzzle Number Two: Today I bought two boxes of low sodium chicken broth, by the same company, in exactly the same packaging, bought at the same time from the same shelf of the grocery store.

So why does one have 15 calories per cup, and 80 mg of sodium, while the other has only 10 calories and 45 mg sodium, as well as differences in fat and carb counts?

I did find one minor difference in the ingredient list: one contains tumeric and the other rosemary. But really - that much difference in the caloric and sodium content just because of an herb?

Puzzle Number Three: Today I bought a new Waterpik showerhead to replace a not-so-cheap plastic one that is cracked and leaking after only two years. Like a good consumer, I carefully opened the package and pulled out the instructions, even though I was pretty sure (having done this many times before) that I could change the showerhead without reading them. Well! It was a good thing I read them, because the very first symbol was one I've never encountered before:

No Dope????? What the heck does that mean? I shouldn't smoke the funny stuff while installling the showerhead? Dopes shouldn't install showerheads?

In hindsight, they should have put the symbol on the outside of the packaging. Then perhaps this dope wouldn't have bought the wrong darn showerhead.

Postscript:   As I was returning the showerhead to the store tonight, along a dark country lane, I caught a glimpse of movement on the left shoulder of the road. I slowed to a crawl, expecting to see one of the many island deer grazing there. Instead, a huge owl with a medium sized bunny in its talons swooped gracefully through my headlights, just inches from the front of the car. It was so close I could see every bit of feather and fur. While I felt sorry for the bunny, the moment was nothing less than surreal. The image of owl and rabbit spotlighted in the night sky, two bodies flying in tandom under the owl's broad wings, is forever burned into my mind's eye. Thank goodness for shopping mistakes that take me out on country roads at night. It was absolutely magical.


EvenSong said...

Okay then.
Answer to puzzle number 1: No doubt the human reflective vest is one of thousands produced for various purposes--construction, hikers, hunters, and so forth. But the canine version is a specialty item. I have this same contrast between your typical board game ("Chutes and Ladders," at say $5.99) and counseling themed board games ("Friendship Island" for $53.95).
Puzzle #2: I would check for production dates, and possibly lot numbers. It's possible that they changed their recipe or methods enough to make the difference, and it's significant to me that they actually checked the nutrient levels for both batches and documented the differences.
Puzzle #3: Pipe dope is a type of plumbing sealant, not quite glue. I think it has some caustic properties, and therefore would be detrimental to any chrome and/or plastic on the shower head or the neck of the pipe from the wall. That's why they suggest (show a picture of) Teflon tape as the appropriate way to seal the connection.

As for the owl, aren't they amazing? The ones that live in my barn from time to time usual scare the be-jabbers out of me when I surprise them and they swoop out just over my head!

Jean said...

Thanks, Evensong - trust my blog readers to enlighten me.
The triple cost of the dog vest still irks me, as I like to think a product's price should be based on the cost of materials and amount of time/level of skill it takes to make it. Grrr.

The production dates differ by one month, (one in May, one in June) - though I have a box here with a March production date that matches the nutritional values of the June box! You'd think that once a person checks an ingredient list, they don't need to check it again unless the box says "new and improved". Just goes to show - if a consumer needs to avoid a particular ingredient or manage their consumption of sodium or fats or carbs or whatever, they have to read every jar/bottle/can/package regardless of whether it is their usual brand or not. I wonder how many people know this?

And for everyone who emailed me about the 'plumber's dope' - thank you. Y'learn something new every day. Ironically, the replacement showerhead (or replacement for the replacement - the one I exchanged the above mentioned one for last night) says nothing about 'dope' - just like every showerhead I've ever bought before. I think I shall stick to dogs and nature, and leave plumbing stuff alone!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Your post had me asking the same questions, Jean, and snickering about the "No Dope" instruction. Had to smile when I saw EvenSong's comment. I am always in awe of her handiwoman skills. I learned recently to check nutrient/ingredient lists more frequently, after finding a later batch of Chewable Vitamin C tablets with sugar added. (Why do they do that? The first one tasted fine.) As for the owl, yes, I can imagine that image will stay with you (and now with me) for a long time to come. Thanks for that vivid description. Oh, and Happy (late) Birthday to your mother. I always think of her when I remember Rose, the osprey chick.

irene, S.Surrey said...

Speaking of owls, you may enjoy this clip:

EvenSong said...

Thanks, Carol--I know just enough handywoman skills to be dangerous!