At this point you've got 2 solutions:
- at the point of saving the record, strip the whitespace. The whole problem goes away completely (that's what I'd do).
- drop down to some slightly rawer sql. Assuming your database has a function that removes trailing and leading whitespace (in mysql it's TRIM) you can do something like
MyTable.find(:first,:conditions => [ "TRIM(MyColumn) = ?",someValue ])