Alibi V.28 No.50 • Dec 12-18, 2019 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: Japan

A Japanese department store says it will “rethink” a new policy that would give women on the staff the choice of wearing special badges to indicate when they are on their period. BBC News reports that the Daimaru branch at Osaka Umeda introduced the voluntary badges in October. On one side of the badge was an advertisement for a new section of the store, “women's well-being,” that opened at the end of November. On the other side of the badge was an image of “Seiri-chan,” a cartoon mascot taken from a comic strip about menstruation. If a female staff member was on her period, she could flip the badge over to the side with Seiri-chan to let her coworkers know. They could then provide her with more help and would know to give her longer breaks. The badges were reportedly requested by employees. But when store leaders shared the new policy with media outlets, some misreported that the badges were meant to inform or warn customers that the woman was menstruating. According to reports, Daimaru was inundated with complaints from the public over what some believed was a form of sexual harassment. Daimaru spokeswoman Yoko Higuchi told reporters that some staff members “didn't see the point” of the badges or were “reluctant” to wear them. However, she said the company had received positive feedback from employees and the public as well. Daimaru are not cancelling the policy, but they are “rethinking” it. Higuchi said the company will be looking for a way to share the information without alerting the public.

Dateline: India

Farmers in the Malnad region of India are painting their dogs to look like tigers in a bid to scare off destructive monkeys. According to the Deccan Herald, farmers in the region have been struggling with monkey populations destroying their crops. The problem has become so bad that local government is considering constructing a park specifically designed to rehabilitate monkeys. But coffee farmer Srikanta Gowda reportedly came up with an ingenious idea after visiting a farm near Bhatkal in the Uttara Kannada district four years ago. There, he saw a farmer using a tiger-like doll to scare monkeys away from their farm. He brought the doll to his own village and tried the method out. He found that the monkeys seemed to be afraid of the doll and avoided the area where it was located. To test the theory, he moved the doll to another spot and found that they avoided that area instead. He told reporters that he knew the doll ploy could only work for so long, so he came up with the idea of painting tiger stripes on his dog. He used hair dye that lasts for more than a month. Recently, other farmers in Gowda's village have also adopted the practice.

Dateline: North America

Officials say a poor harvest of potatoes in the US and Canada is unlikely to cause a French fry shortage, as many feared. Last week, multiple media outlets warned that cold and wet weather had forced potato farmers in North America to cut their harvest season short and abandon thousands of damaged potatoes. The US Department of Agriculture said the potato crop forecast is at its lowest since 2010. The bad weather was expected to hit fries harder than other potato products, because spuds used for fries are generally harvested later in the season. This led many outlets to report that a possible French fry shortage was on the way. But The New York Times says that the poor potato output is unlikely to affect French fry production. “Don’t panic about the French fries,” said Frank Muir, the president of the Idaho Potato Commission. “You can still go out and order them like you normally do.” Muir told reporters that by the time the frost hit Idaho, about 85 percent of the state’s crop had already been harvested. Altogether, 13 billion pounds of potatoes were harvested, compared to 14 billion pounds harvested last year. A number of experts and companies in the field have said that they are having no problems meeting demands this year and are expecting no shortages. Muir also said that the companies that process French fries have temperature-controlled backstock and can meet consumer demands even if harvests fail.

Dateline: Florida

A baby shower gift purchased at a Goodwill in Florida reportedly contained a semi-automatic rifle instead of a children's toy. According to Huffpost, Veronica Alvarez-Rodriguez bought what she thought was an unopened Baby Einstein’s bouncer at a local Goodwill store for $9.99. When the gift was opened by the father-to-be, he reportedly shouted, “You guys got me a gun!” Guests at the shower laughed, thinking the gift was a joke, but Alvarez-Rodriguez and her husband called the Crestview Police Department. The responding officer initially allowed the father-to-be to keep the gun—a Mossberg 715T semi-automatic rifle that was loaded with live ammunition—but the weapon was confiscated by police the following day. Law enforcement continues to investigate how the gun ended up in a seemingly factory-sealed child's toy box, but no leads have been forthcoming. No details on the identity of the person or persons who donated the box to Goodwill have been released either. The company has not made a public statement concerning the incident. Alvarez-Rodriguez told reporters that “Goodwill has the best treasures for $9.99.”

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.