You know what artistic and designer types are like. They hang around art openings, dress in black, and make pronouncements like, “Less is more”.

Well between us, I can tell you they have it all wrong.

Firstly, little do they know the phrase comes from a Browning poem about the 16th century painter, Andrea del Sarto, arguing with his cheating wife. The poem doesn’t make it clear what is less or why it’s more but I’m pretty sure del Sarto wasn’t talking about design concepts.

While I’m on the topic of proverbs that don’t live up to their billing, “You get what you pay for” (YGWYPF) is another dud.

I know this for a fact because of an excursion I took to a local store a while back. I won’t name The Store and give them free advertising since they weren’t prepared to give me a free anything.

I marched into The Store intent on investing in a bottle of tequila. I knew the brand–this is the land of tequila–what could be simpler? In and out.

Then I ran into this.

How can the smaller bottle cost more?

smaller bottle costs more

Side note: it looks like dollar signs on the price tags but they mean pesos. This can be confusing for the uninitiated. 125 pesos is under $10 Canadian (US$6.17).

You gotta ask yourself, “Is this a trick?” It’s gotta be a trick. They’re the exact same brand, the exact same product but the bigger bottle costs less. That’s the trick part of the question. Why would I want to get less–210 ml less but pay more–10 pesos more? I mean, for those not familiar with metric, 210 ml is over seven extra shots I would be missing out on.

Now this is where I could have used Lynn’s help. She’s good at these things. She spends Saturday mornings poring over visual quizzes while sipping her coffee. This is a real life “Spot the Difference” puzzle.

Lynn solving the Saturday paper puzzles

Lynn swilling coffee and pouring over puzzles.

On my own and without my reading glasses, I peered harder at the bottles and tried to spot the differences. I was tempted to hang around to see if someone would grab the smaller bottle and pay more and then I could ask them what was up.

After a minute or so of dithering, I took the plunge, grabbed the bottle with more but costing less and hoped YGWYPF wouldn’t come back to torment me. If I was wrong, I figured all the extra tequila would help me forget.

Now, as I sit back and sip a margarita, I can see how the adage steered someone horribly wrong. Visualize a designer type in the marketing department of The Store trying to sound important and quoting “Less is More”. A clerk, stocking the shelves, must have heard this–realized the smaller bottle had less in it and therefore decided to charge more.

All I can say is when one of those artistic types starts spouting off about “Less is More” you can say, “No, in Mazatlan it’s ‘More is Less'” and don’t even get started on YGWYPF.

BTW–on the far right in the photo, you see that bottle of prepared margarita mix of limejuice and sugar water? Just so you know, real men fresh squeeze their own limes. Maybe that was del Sarto’s problem–he didn’t squeeze his own limes.Limes

6 comments on “More or Less?

  • If you subscribe to the philosophy, “buy high and sell low”, it makes perfect sense. As you know, that has been my philosophy for 7 decades, and I’m almost broke.

    Happy New Year to you and Lynn! All the best!

  • I feel like this short blog might be your best yet but I didn’t pay a single peso for it. So now I’m confused… Is less really more or did I get what I paid for?

    • Hmm. A couple of days ago I had someone make a similar comment along the lines of, “How come you’re not that funny in person?” For whatever reason I chose to interpret that as a compliment.

  • Hey, maybe tequila marketing is like Coke selling miniature tins for more. No? In any event, love your ongoing style, Ken. Keep it up. Especially for those of us holding the fort here in el norte. I’m getting off on the colour of those Jose Cuervo bottles — wow — colour! All we got here is grey. All the best for the coming year from meself and Pamelita.

  • Looks like you need to keep your eyes wide open. Maybe you,Ken could set up a skip the dishes web sight so when you find these deals, we could all get the deal. But then you would have to be a booze mule. Not sure Lynn would like you being run off your feet. But just a thought.

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