Meredith C. Carroll: What’s the difference between branded vans parked on Main Street and sandwich boards?
The Aspen City Council refrained from taking a bite out of sandwich boards at Monday’s meeting due to the potential implications of a 3-year-old United States Supreme Court “content neutral” ruling that deemed all signs created equal. It could well be that Aspen’s right to know about the clam chowder special at Annette’s Bakery or (another) Noori’s moving sale is just as fundamental as, say, the latest Red Mountain price drop on a Coldwell Banker listing. But rather than incur the wrath of establishments they deem unworthy of an extra advertising goose, council members may ultimately make their 2017 ban on sandwich-board signs permanent.
The good news is the outcome will have no bearing on the businesses increasingly taking their show on the road and eschewing traditional downtown retail space. Aspen is accustomed to being excluded from such big-city conveniences as Amazon delivery via drone, and Drizly, which is the life-saving service that transports alcohol and related accessories on-demand in case of a dinner party emergency. Yet, even though Aspen is deprived of Fresh Direct and Uber Eats, it perhaps holds the distinction of being the only city in America where vaginas can get a nip and tuck to go — or rather, where a vaginal nip and tuck will come to you.
It’s hard to miss the bright green tricked-out Mercedes sprinter van advertising “advanced IV therapy concierge” services, plus tattoo removal and “intimate rejuvenation,” that’s conspicuously parked just inches off Main Street a few blocks east of the S-curves. While it’s unclear what, if any, magic happens in the actual van, what is abundantly clear is that vaginas are at the forefront of local and visiting minds. If they weren’t before, they will be as soon as they pass Fifth Street.
Of course, Aspen is no stranger to catering to the whims of its guests and residents. Visiting from sea level and short of breath at 7,908 feet? Choose from any number of oxygen delivery companies to breathe some air into your home, fractional or hotel. Are you so heavily in vacation mode that even popping into town for ski rentals is too much work? If the mountain won’t come to you, Ski Butlers will deliver gear for you to go directly to the mountain.
Did you arrive in Aspen but your luggage didn’t (that’s rhetorical, by the way)? Suit Yourself offers an array of ski clothing that it says will make you “look like a local” (including a one-piece suit that looks as if it’s probably fresh off the back of someone at the Highlands closing day bash — that is, this year’s bash plus all the other bashes dating back to the ’80s, too).
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If you’ve got a sick or disheveled dog and dealing with traffic, construction and sky-high parking rates isn’t Spot’s thing, you can summon a veterinarian or even a mobile dog-washing service to your home (although not Mutt Cutts, because they’re based out of Providence, obviously).
Didn’t travel with an Exersaucer or forgot the Pack ‘N Play? Mountain Baby Gear will rent, deliver, set up and retrieve everything your baby desires on demand (except perhaps the dirty diapers). Was your nanny’s ticket to St. Barth’s nonrefundable? The Aspen Babysitting Co.’s got your kids covered for only slightly less than the cost of room, board and tuition to a private liberal arts college.
Some local restaurants deliver, including Little Ollie’s and Hickory House. But if you’re looking for most everything else, A La Car will fill your belly while draining your bank account: the delivery menus are marked up compared with each restaurant’s eat-in prices, plus there’s a 20 percent service fee tacked onto the bill and none of this includes the driver’s tip.
Not all only-in-Aspen mobile businesses advertise, including politicians, movie and rock stars who will come to your home and nonprofit events. Then there are the drugs. After all, if you can’t get snow delivered in Aspen, where can you? (That’s also rhetorical.)
By all means, Aspen City Council should continue holding the community to high aesthetic standards, although it should also consider the inequity of disallowing sandwich-board signs for some businesses when others can offend, er, have a presence, at the bargain price of simply parking (which may be the only time ever that parking in Aspen could be characterized as either simple or a bargain).
Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at MeredithCarroll.com.
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