Tim Martin’s “Here’s a Thought” will no longer appear in the Times-Standard.
Many thanks to a reader who emailed us the following on Friday:
“I’m Googling … and happened to read Tim Martin’s column, ‘Organic natural-fall firewood and other marketing schemes,’ five minutes after I read this six-year-old Reddit thread. I thought you folks might want to have a look. They seem too similar to be a coincidence.”
Indeed they were.
A Reddit user, 2012: “My friend lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, and he told me this story: his dog had puppies so they put an ad in the local paper (near Glacier National Park, so lots of resort towns nearby) saying ‘free to a good home.’ They waited two weeks and got no responses. Then his wife re-ran the ad (same photos and everything), but instead saying ‘Blackfeet campfire dogs — $700.’ Sold all the puppies in two days.”
Martin, 2018: “When I lived in Riverside, my neighbor’s dog had puppies. She put an ad in the local paper saying ‘free to a good home,’ waited two weeks, and got no responses. Then she re-ran the ad (same photo), but instead called them ‘Big Bear Lake Wilderness Dogs: $100.’ She sold all the puppies in two days.”
Another Reddit user in the same 2012 thread: “This reminds me of when I was in a supermarket in Mexico looking at cans of Pringles. The store had the Original flavor, and they also had Reduced Fat Original, which I had never seen before. The can said that it had 25 percent less fat. I grabbed the cans to compare the ingredients side by side. Everything was the same. Then I saw that a serving size on the regular can was 16 chips and a serving size on the reduced fat can was 12. They just lowered the serving size by 25 percent.”
Martin, 2018: “In a Hanoi, Vietnam market I stumbled upon a display of Lay’s potato chips. The store had original flavor. They also had reduced fat original, which I had never seen before. The can said that it had 25 percent less fat. I picked up both cans to compare the ingredients side by side. Everything was the same. Then I saw that a serving size on the regular can was 16 chips and a serving size on the reduced fat can was 12. They had lowered the serving size by 25 percent.”
A third Reddit user, same thread: “This one is not my own, but a story my grandpa used to tell me. He used to make moonshine back in Missouri during prohibition. Well, he’d take some of each batch and throw a little piece of plug tobacco in it. Not enough to change the flavor, but it would give it a nice amber color. He’d sell it as aged moonshine at higher price. The best part was that his customers would swear that it was smoother and tasted better. Mmmmm, placebo whiskey!”
Martin, 2018: “My uncle used to make homemade whiskey. He would take a portion of each batch and throw in a slice of plug tobacco. Not enough to change the flavor, but it would give the alcohol a soft amber color. Then he would sell it as ‘aged liquor’ at a higher price. Customers would swear that it was smoother and actually tasted better.”
You get the point. Plagiarism isn’t acceptable. We’re done here.
If you’d like to see your words in this space next Sunday — your own words — drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.