Posts tagged “pets”

Curating Consumption

Since Johnny Holland has said farewell, we’ll be continuing this series here on All This ChittahChattah. Here’s some stories and observations that Beth and Steve have assembled over the past few weeks.

Tim Hortons beverage pricing offers a large number of sizes with a tiny, silly price difference. No doubt there are graphs that prove this is a good pricing strategy, if upselling by 11 cents turns out to have any impact on the bottom line. As a shopper, I find it mind-boggling; the friction for supersizing is almost zero and now I have to actually think about how much I want to drink. The Tims man showed me the largest size and it was so obviously too much (more horse trough than hot choc), so I saved myself a few pennies and went down a size or two. /SP

Pets-as-people is certainly nothing new; a trend that has continued to grow in terms of marketplace dollars, emotional engagement a product selection. Still, it’s astonishing to look at a wall of clothing that looks like t-shirts in a range of kids’ sizes and styles, and to realize that actually you are looking at a selection of “Pet Gear.” /SP

As I tried to write the contents of this bag (pumpkin squash curry coconut) onto the label I quickly found myself ranting about the poor design: How can you fit anything on this tiny label (e.g., “pump sq cur coc”)? Then my young designer self surfaced and I realized that, “No, in fact this is perfectly designed.” The available writing space is exactly aligned to the end of the copy above, the height is exactly the height of the Ziploc brand. Everything was in harmony! I can’t tell you how many times while in design school that I designed something most beautiful yet most unusable. Thankfully a super brilliant creative director showed me the way. Functional can be beautiful. If you make medicine bottles clearer or safety messages intriguing enough to read then you’ve done something as a designer. What can seem like the most banal and uninteresting design project is a challenge not many can rise to. Anyone can design for cool brands like Nike, Coke and Pepsi. But can you make Ziploc bag labels a thing of beauty? Or at the very least, give me some more room to write! /BT

“Members only?” Here’s how I imagine that signage came about
Store manager: Why do you think we’re not getting any business?
Clerk: Maybe people don’t know we’re open?
Store manager: But we’ve been open for weeks!
Clerk: But we don’t have any kind of sign or anything telling people we’re open,
Store manager: But, it’s a store…I mean…the door is open…lights are on…we’re in here!
Clerk: Yeah, but it’s kind of not official until you have one of those big signs up…
Store manager: Fine!
[later that day]
Customer: Finally! Been waiting for you to open so I can see how much membership costs. /BT

Happy Birthday, Brody

It’s now about one year since we adopted Brody, a golden retriever. Not quite an anniversary, not quite a birthday, but worth reflecting upon. It continues to be an interesting journey and learning process, but most relevant to this blog perhaps is how fascinating it is to observe and interact with a creature who operates without any social norms or cultural rules, whereas we do and say almost nothing without hearkening back to those same constraints.

I find myself constantly observing him and remarking to myself with surprise or bemusement how he can do something that I want desperately to attach human meaning to. His body language, his lack of body language, his sighs and facial expressions, what and where he licks or sniffs, his reactions to stimuli (other dogs, strangers, cats, alpacas, trucks, food, water), on and on – all are driven by a completely different set of motivations, yet like most dog owners, I do nothing but project upon him.

It’s a reminder to me as an ethnographer that so much of what we do ourselves, or what I observe in others, is constructed through the rules of our culture.

(and sure, there are millions of PhD theses about nature vs. nurture, about sociobiology, about culture-in-animals, no doubt, but really, I hope you take my point for what it is).

Roll Over Beethoven

Roll Over Beethoven is a collection of classical music for pets and the people who love them.

This compact disc of classical music includes selections to inspire pets, as well as ones that truly were inspired by a composer’s love for a pet. “Initially, it may sound a little unconventional, but a lot of thought went into creating a classical music CD for pets,” Greg Davis, WRR general manager said. First, people love their pets and they are continually looking for ways to improve their pets’ quality of life. What better way than with classical music! Secondly, research shows that animals, especially dogs, respond very favorably to classical music. According to a study conducted by Queen’s University in Belfast, dogs that listen to classical music are more relaxed and well behaved than when listening to other types of music, such as heavy metal.

Many first-hand accounts from our listeners support this research. We hear from folks who put their radio on WRR when they take their pet to the vet, or they leave WRR on while they’re at work or away from home. One listener said that her tortoise stands in front of the stereo speaker as long as WRR is on. Another important factor in releasing a pet CD is the opportunity to help two outstanding organizations that work tirelessly to assist abandoned and/or abused animals. A portion of CD proceeds will be donated to Operation Kindness and SPCA of Texas.


1. Beethoven – Symphony No. 7: Presto
2. Haydn – Piano Concerto No. 4: Adagio cantabile
3. Bach – Brandenburg Concerto No. 6: Finale
4. Mozart – Violin Concerto No. 3: Adagio
5. Dvorak – Legend: Allegro giusto
6. Debussy – The Girl with the Flaxen Hair
7. Toch – Spiel: Idyll
8. Copland – Rodeo: Hoe-down
9. Elgar – Enigma Variations: Variation 11
10. Tucker – Whiskers, a Kitty Walk* (World Premiere Recording)
11. Respighi – The Birds: Prelude
12. Satie – Preludes flasques: Flabby Preludes
13-14. Faure – Dolly Suite: Mi-a-ou and Kitty Valse
15. Hovhaness – Piano Sonata: Fred the Cat
16. Gershwin – Walking the Dog (Theme from WRR’s “A Night on the Town”)
17-19. Saint-Saens – Carnival of the Animals: The Birds, The Aquarium and Finale

(thanks Amy)


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