i also like best your "or maybe" technique.
in reply to Is there a reason to use "join" instead of just using the period?
i've seen the pattern your new person does in scripting, not just perl. the more typical case for using it is when there's a big bag of all sorts of variables and/or output from inline system calls. using this pattern you can fairly clearly see everything that gets joined together, and in the right order. in other words, a visual aid. but with all those quotes and commas, it loses some of that. i wouldn't frown upon it.
the hardest line to type correctly is: stty erase ^H