August 16, 2005

No Huffing, Please



I work in a camera store, and we sell lots of canned air, some with this charming “no huffing” symbol on the label. Then the store’s president posts this article, with the directive of carding anyone under 18 years old. The back-to-school rush is under way, and we’re saving junior college Photo 1 students from Dusting themselves to the worst headache they’ll ever experience.

I just came from Home Depot, where the self-checkout terminal asked for my ID because I was buying a can of spray paint. But wait, spray paint is for “huffing,” and I thought “dusting” was the new boogeyman. Confusing, yes, but we should be grateful that a major retail chain polices the newest teenage buzz trends so parents don’t have to.

It’s annoying that they’ve re-branded traditional “huffing” with a name that conveniently provides free advertising to the product it’s named for. Renaming “huffing” as “dusting” is just as absurd as asking for a Whopper at McDonald’s – a product name is sacrosanct (unless it’s Diddy) and we aren't supposed to mix and match monikers willy nilly.

Plus, “dusting” is already taken as a slang drug term. To dust is to smoke (or lace something else with) Angel Dust, a.k.a PCP. If “dusting” is so much more dangerous than last year’s pseudoephedrine rampage, it deserves it’s own slang term.

To save the rest of the children who would never have hit on the idea until it was plastered all over the media, canned air sits behind the counter with Sudafed and pints of Crown Royal. Meanwhile, that guy in Aisle 5 is buying a large quantity of Morning Glory seeds to sell to the 5th graders waiting for their banana peels to dry…