February 1, 2008

The Lolita Midsleeper Combi, an item of cute bedroom furniture for little girls, offered for sale by Woolworths.

For the annals of cluelessness:
Whereas many mothers were familiar with Vladimir Nabokov and his famous novel, it seems that the Woolworths staff were not. At first they were baffled by the fuss. A spokesman for the company told The Times: “What seems to have happened is the staff who run the website had never heard of Lolita, and to be honest no one else here had either. We had to look it up on Wikipedia. But we certainly know who she is now.”
Via Metafilter. Sample comment:
Makes me think of "Amelia Earhart luggage"...
IN THE COMMENTS: Lots of imagined brand names, including — from Ruth Anne Adams — the Sylvia Plath oven range. Ouch!

ADDED: Here's an ad for the Lolita Midsleeper Combi: "This Lolita Midsleeper Combi is the perfect space-saving solution for your child's bedroom."




MORE IN THE COMMENTS: Omaha1 has more bad product names:
Jon-Benet kiddie cosmetics

Andrea Yates bathtub toys

Christopher Reeve rocking horse

OJ Simpson gloves

Lewinsky humidor

Bill O'Reilly loofah

David Koresh lighter fluid

Jim Jones fruit-flavored beverage

Michael Jackson underoos

John Denver model airplane kit

Lynn Spears' guide to successful parenting (oops that one's real!)

26 comments:

rhhardin said...

Dictionaries ought to warn you how you can get into trouble, in their list of feminine names. Consider also

MONICA < L. of uncert. meaning

which is a little less that you need to know as a new parent or marketing specialist.

Ron said...

I remember seeing an ad for a Hemingway chaise lounge and thinking, 'what, so I can recline in comfort while I put the shotgun to my head?'

Elliott A said...

I certainly wouldn't want my daughter (if she were still younger) advertising her new furniture in front of any educated adults!

For anyone who has read the book and enjoyed it, I heartily recommend "The Defense" by Nabokov which I thought was actually better. Russian authors have (or had) a knack of getting inside their characters heads.

Pogo said...

Britney Spears child carrier seat.

Rober Byrd bedsheets.

Ted Kennedy lifejacket.

George Bush Guide to Public Speakifying.

John Wayne Gacy halloween outfit for boys.

Michael Moore diet pills.

Karen Carpenter diet pills.

Caludine Longet rifle.

Dahmer BBQ sauce.

Che Guevera t-shirt.

Elliott A said...

Ted Kennedy also has a school for secretaries. He does not need lifevests since teh seats in his car are used as flotation devices in the event the vehicle winds up in water.

ricpic said...

We're supposed to believe that the Woolworths product namer, or whatever his/her job description is, just happened to settle on the name Lolita? I don't buy it.

Pogo said...

ricpic
Maybe Woolworth's couldn't afford Google.

It is a 5 and dime.

Smilin' Jack said...

I've heard that when hydrogen-powered cars come out, the first model will be called the Hindenburg.

bearing said...

Did you catch the last line of the article?

Tesco sold a toy pole-dancing kit?

Truly a life-imitates-Onion article.

Independent George said...

Wait a minute...

Woolworth's is still around?

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

oooooo ...those are good!

Did you see the signature Richard Pryor silverware?
All spoons.

Or buy the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 snow globe.


Ba dum bum.
I'll be here all week.

JimboPA said...

Umm, don't try the veal this time.

Chip Ahoy said...

Lizzy Borden Gardening kit

Lorenna Bobbit kitchen starter set

Leona Helmsley tax preparation program CD set.

Heidi Fleiss Happy Kitten sparkly address book

Catherine O'leary milking stool and pail set complete with gas lantern.

Aileen Carol Wuornos Hitchhiker's Guide to the United States and Little Ladies makeup kit.

This is fun.

Helen Keller Easy Play Alphabet card set

Judith Resnik moon boots

Anne Boleyn bead necklace and bracelet kit.

Ethel Rosenberg Daily Planner for girls.

Elizabeth Hilton, Wilding, Todd, Fisher, Burton, Burton, Warner, Fortensky, Taylor's book on How to Make Marriages Last.

Blake said...

Judith Warner Coffee

Hillary Clinton Carrot Sticks

The Vornado Althouse

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elliott A said...

The Woolworths was in England.

MadisonMan said...

Ed Gein Lampshades?

George Meadows Rope?

MadisonMan said...

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Extinguishers?

Michael_H said...

Christopher Hitchens soap.

tjl said...

Frida Kahlo tweezers.

Omaha1 said...

Jon-Benet kiddie cosmetics

Andrea Yates bathtub toys

Christopher Reeve rocking horse

OJ Simpson gloves

Lewinsky humidor

Bill O'Reilly loofah

David Koresh lighter fluid

Jim Jones fruit-flavored beverage

Michael Jackson underoos

John Denver model airplane kit

Lynn Spears' guide to successful parenting (oops that one's real!)

normana400 said...

What people don't realize is that Combi is a Japanese company and "Lolita" in Japan refers to an Anime based fashion rather than a reference to the Russian novel by the same name. Lolita fashion is basically a reviaval of 1800's Victorian fashion. In Japan you will see scores of teen and preteen girls on the streets dressed up similarly to Holly Hobby, Strawberry Shortcake, Little Miss Muppet, Jane Austin, etc. in full victorian accesories (hats, gloves, dolls, hand baskets, umbrellas, etc). That is the Lolita fashion that the sleeper is based on.

Really this issue is more to do with a Japenese company selling a product in a foreign country with a name that means something completly different than in the home country. Anyone remember the similar issue of Chevrolet selling the Chevy Nova in Mexico where the name sounds like No Va (which translates to "no go")?

Here's a reference to Japanese Lolita fashion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lolita_fashion

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks for the info Norman400. I love these Japanese fashions, but I note the term does originate with the Nabokov novel according to your Wikipedia link:

"Although "Lolita" is a reference to Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel, and GothLoli is often worn by teens, most followers of the style do not consider it overtly sexual. Adherents present themselves as Victorian children or baby dolls and prefer to look "cute" rather than "sexy". Many Lolitas claim that the term 'Lolita' doesn't necessarily have anything to do with sex at all. The usage of the word may also be considered wasei-eigo. Japanese culture places a higher value upon extremely youthful appearance and behavior than Western, and some adult women buy large amounts of products, such as Hello Kitty goods, that are typically marketed only to children in the West. GothLoli is perhaps a more visible extension of this phenomenon."

Isn't the innocence of sex what the pedophile finds attractive?

Samuel C. Chiu said...

No, combi is referring to the fact that the bed has shelves and a pull-out desk. The manufacturer is Scandinavian House Ltd.

In Japan they also use 'loli-con' to refer to a man who is turned on by little girls.

Blake said...

Anyone remember the similar issue of Chevrolet selling the Chevy Nova in Mexico where the name sounds like No Va (which translates to "no go")?

Apocryphal.