In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

What are you telling me?!

A billboard stands near my office. When the ad changes, we often discuss the relative merits of the new offering. The latest ad may be designed to part me from my money, but it fails because it makes no sense.


For my international readers, the HST is the combined federal and provincial sales tax, which currently equals 13% in Ontario.

When I look at the sign, the first thought that springs to mind is “up to 2× the equivalent of the HST what?” Ads will sometimes attempt to entice buyers by offering a discount equal to the tax, so I’m guessing that Corbeil is offering to pay the tax and give you a further 13% discount. The problem is they don’t say this. Looking at the sign, they may charge you twice the HST. This is unlikely, but the sign doesn’t help clarify the situation.

In case you’re thinking it’s in the small print, you’re mistaken. It says, “On selected brands and models. Limited quantities. Details in-store.” Previous Corbeil ads have been similarly bewildering so I wonder if it’s a cultural or language issue. Corbeil is a Québec-based retailer with two stores in Ontario (of thirty in total). With 28 stores in Québec and 2 in Ontario, I’m guessing their marketing for the Ontario market is also produced in Québec.

Poking around their site for clarification, I clicked the promotions link and saw a banner that advertised the same promotion:


Unfortunately, visitors cannot click the banner graphic for further details … or even the most rudimentary details of the promotion!

Regardless of the reason, it’s exceedingly strange.


Oh, those photographers…



1 Comment

  1. Louise

    I think part of the problem may be the law. The CRA (Revenue Canada back then) came down hard on retailers that stated ‘no GST or PST’ or ‘no tax’ in their ads, as it implied that the retailer was not collecting GST (Goods & Services Tax) or the PST (Provincial Sales Tax). Hence from a certain point you saw ads that said ‘save the GST & PST’ because ‘save 15%’ didn’t sound very sexy or enticing. Weird ad factoids… who knew the depths of my lameness…

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