Posted by ESC on March 08, 2003
In Reply to: Hands down & dances posted by TheFallen on March 08, 2003
: : Lupton also bottles Sunkist, but ask him if he's willing to drop it so he can take on Coca-Cola's Minut Maid, and he'll tell you, "I'll be glad to. All Coca-Cola has to do is give me a product that's competitive in price and quality, and I'll take it hands down." But not Charles Millard, chairman of the $600-million-a-year Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of New York, Coke's second-largest customer. Even though Coke owns 31% of his company,Millard says he will stick with Sunkist,"They have made a big investment in this market and in our business," he says."The smart bottlers will leave the dance with the girl they came with."
: : what does "take hands down" and "leave the dance with the girl they came with" mean?
: To do something "hands down" means one of two things, either to do something with extreme ease, or to do something whole-heartedly and without doubt or reservation. In the piece that you quote, it's the second meaning that applies - Mr. Lupton is saying that he'd be delighted to switch to bottling a different brand of fruit juice.
: Mr. Millard on the other hand states that he'll continue bottling juice for Sunkist. His idiom "the smart bottlers will leave the dance with the girl they came with" is intended to point out that it's always a more intelligent idea, whether in business or in romance, to stick with the partner that you know and trust, rather than be distracted by an apparently more attractive proposition about which you know very little.
"WIN HANDS DOWN -- A jockey who wins a race 'hands down' is so far ahead of the field that he doesn't have to flick the reins to urge his horse forward and crosses the finish line with his hands down, letting up on the reins. From racetrack slang toward the end of the last century the metaphor 'to win hands down' passed into general use for any easy, effortless victory, a walkover." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).