Saint John — Subliminal advertising, largely a conspiracy theory where liquor, cigarette, and gasoline/forest product companies are accused of hiding sexually explicit images in advertising, is obviously prospering in the Saint John City Market.
Walk through it on any rainy day and you will see dripping water etching dirty pictures into the asphalt: a woman’s bra at Pete’s Frootique, women’s panties on the walk at Balemans and a full, reverse-view of a naked woman wiggling her behind on the walkway in front of Winegarden Estates.
The Manatee managed to ask new Saint John mayor Don Darling about the practice. “We’d rather people come in to the market on rainy days than stay at home in bed,” said the mayor. “Come in and experience the same fantasies with family and friends.”
And you thought its roof leaked because of poor maintenance.
It’s not all dirty drippings of women either; Steven Michaels, a sandwich slapper at Jeremiah’s Deli, said that the café on the other side of the building holds a dirty salad contest every morning before lunch where salad makers routinely recreate naked men with olives, baby carrots and shredded dulce. Two preparers we questioned denied the accusation as they frantically mixed the salads they were preparing for unsuspecting customers. We think it’s safe to assume where their name, The Wild Carrot Café, came from.
Jenny Lacey, assistant manager at The Wild Carrot, not only denied the accusation but accused Jeremiah’s of its own shenanigans: “They make shapes of naked women out of the bottles in their glass-fronted refrigerators.” Michaels could not deny the existence of the naked-woman shape in his refrigerator, but he denied the insinuation of sexism. “It’s a naked body all right,” he admitted, “but we leave it up to customers to decide which they want to see.”
He opened the door, reached in, and laid a bottle sideways. “Meet Pete Luckett,” he said.
Asked who the worst offender was, all shop owners and workers pointed to one place: Dean’s Meat Stall. “The images they design with their meats is disgusting,” both Michaels and Lacey said. A butcher at Dean’s who refused to be named simply said, “It’s all about the meat,” as he lined up sausages and chicken breasts inside the glass display case.
A tourist from California off a recent tour-boat was excited about his visit to the market. “Everything and everybody here is so loose, so free. We don’t have anything like this at home.” Asked what he ordered for lunch, he replied, “One of those carrot salads with Ranch dressing from the salad stall, a banana from the fruit lady, and a soda from across the way.”