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Your Toronto 2014 Issue Navigator

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Not A Single Luxury

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Gilligan Island‘s Ginger was a movie star—a beautiful starlet with a husky voice, expensive tastes, and, allegedly, a thing for the professor. Toronto’s Ginger is a Vietnamese restaurant with outrageously cheap great food, with several locations around the city. And, uh, aside from being proper nouns, now they actually have something in common.
The system for ordering at Ginger, the restaurant, normally works like this: when you place an order, you’re also assigned a number and take a transparent plastic block (one that’s about six inches long, two inches wide, and a quarter-inch thick) that has that number scotch-taped to the top. When your order’s ready, the staff calls your number, you pick up your food, and you return the block to them. Easy. Delicious.
Months of regular use has meant that the blocks at the Yonge and Charles Ginger look run down, with the tape peeling away and the plastic scratched, though they’re still totally functional. You just might want to wash your hands after handling them. At some point over the past week and a half, Ginger’s old clear plastic blocks were replaced by spiffy new opaque ones—ones that are three-quarters-advertisement for the film No Reservations, a, uh, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart film that opens on Friday. Why a cheap chain struck the marketing team behind a Zeta-Jones vehicle as a good target for promotion is anyone’s guess. (Maybe it’s because there are no reservations at Ginger! Because you just walk in and place your order! It’s genius!) Lack of logic aside, the replaced blocks are still attention-grabbing without being infuriating; after all, you have to look at your number to ever lay claim to your food, but the second that your food is ready you have absolutely no use for the block ever again.
Now we just have to wait and see if the blocks are replaced after No Reservation‘s cinema run, or if Ginger continues to use them until they are just as run down as the old ones. Our money’s on the latter.
UPDATE (August 11): Ginger’s No Reservations cards are gone, but new plastic ones—about the same size and design as the advertisements, but without the advertisements—are there to replace them. Neat!
Photo by Marc Lostracco.

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