Saturday, July 14, 2007

True Colors

I will never be mistaken for an Appalachian Trail “thru-hiker,” but I do like to have the right kind of equipment for my short jaunts in nearby state parks and conservancies. The other day I decided I needed a new waist pack (You can tell I’m not that much of a hiker or it would be a backpack.).

I located a Marmot Excursion pack in a Dick’s Sporting Goods Store. It’s a nice pack, hopefully worth the $40 it cost. In addition to it being highly functional, I thought it looked sharp – a nice dark blue with contrasting light blue highlights. Or so I thought. Looking at the tag, I saw the true colors in Marmot’s eyes were “Tempest” and “Stellar.”

“Maybe,” I thought, “that what makes this pack so special – and lets Marmot get away with charging more for it than if they said it was dark blue and light blue.” After all, a company named after a rodent has to enhance its products somehow. (Actually, they’re a company with a top-notch reputation).

A whole lot of folks are getting into exotic-sounding colors…blue, green or red are just too pedestrian. You need to justify that price tag. Some of the colors of items in the J Jill catalog that my wife buys from are: stone, dark mineral, shale, beach grass and bay leaf. It sounds like they’re running a quarry or lawn and garden store. Somehow, I don’t see a dress in “Stone” as having sleek lines. But an equal number of the colors are foods: Honeydew, Chocolate, Nutmeg, Latte, Cinnamon and Oatmeal. Would you like to buy an oatmeal top or skirt, dear? Is that the color or the material? Is it edible?

Other clothing and furnishings companies seem to be serving up the same menu: at LL Bean, you can get a Double L® Polo in Butter or Chili if you’re a guy; for the ladies, you can choose the polo in Spearmint. At Lands End, women can buy a scoop neck tank top in Persimmon. At Maryland Square, the shoe catalog, some of the models come in: Tootsie Roll, Coffee Bean, and Cream Soda. They also feature items in these fine colors: “Luggage,” “Tuscany” and “Tobacco.” It turns out “Luggage” is a shade of tan – my wife’s luggage is blue, so I guess it’s not universal.

The car companies are into adult beverages: you can get a new Ford Taurus in “Merlot,” a Chevrolet Trailblazer in “Bordeaux” or a Lexus SC in “Chardonnay Pearl.” Now there’s a dangerous mix – cars and alcohol.

What’s with all the food and drink references? I can only guess they’re trying to make customers hungry – and thirsty – for their products.

P.S. Back to hiking – if you’d like to read a book about one person’s hiking adventures – funny and serious – try Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.”

1 comment:

G's Cottage said...

That is hilarious. I have noticed this trend myself at the mall.

Another hiker's online journals from the Appalachian Trail are linked to this page http://www.imrisk.com/index.htm

R moved out west in the spring. I don't know how long this link will work.