So, in the tradition of Click and Clack, who offer their puzzlers, here's today's puzzler courtesy of the Global Detective.
Or should we call it, "today's mystery"?
What does it mean if stores that sell high-quality travel maps have all gone out of business?
We spent this morning trying to track down a travel/map store that could offer two hiking maps, one for the Grand Canyon, the other for Nepal.
Even in San Francisco, the specialty travel map stores that used to carry exactly items like those have dried up and blown away.
Are people hiking less? I've seen a boom in adventure travel and fitness-related vacations.
Are people downloading detailed topo maps for their hikes from the web? I kinda doubt it.
Are people doing less homework before they take off on an adventure hike? Possible. Last time I hiked the Grand Canyon I was appalled at the sight of tourists descending into the canyon as if they were going on a day-picnic at a Disney property. So maybe all those new fitness buffs and adventure travel-istas are doing it without proper preparation.
It's not as important to come up with the answer as to respect what the puzzler has to teach about smart approaches to business--or journalism.
Everything is a clue. Even the extinction of a class of small, specialized businesses.
Storefronts are as fascinating as crime scenes, in terms of the stories they tell and the mysteries they hold.
Go out and buy yourself a fedora and a trench coat.
Get a small note pad or a stack of 3x5 cards.
Then start looking for clues.
As far as job descriptions go, you can't beat "Global Detective."
All Rights Reserved 2009 (c) Alan Webber, Rules Of Thumb