Near where I live a second-hand white goods outlet opened with the clever name of Sell Fridges (hardly competition for the Oxford Street giant, but a quirky name which raised a smile). I love this kind of thing – a few years ago I stopped at a traffic light in Potters Bar alongside a van with this lovely caption: “Singh & Singh Plumbers. You’ve tried the cowboys, now try the Indians!” On the basis of that slogan, I called them to do a job.
However, all is not well on the shop front. I continually see terrible grammatical mistakes on high street signage and although I have vowed never to shop at such places, these mistakes are so prevalent, I really don’t have much choice. Here are some of my favourite inaccuracies inside and outside stores: Barber’s; Aisle for less than 10 items; open Sunday’s; ATM’s.
Now I am not suggesting that we get over stroppy about this blot on our landscape, I think this gentleman is going too far: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grammar-vigilante-name-if-poss-change-bristol-signs-business-shop-night-commas-apostrophies-banksy-a7664286.html but there a serious point here. If the proprietor cannot be bothered to check how he or she presents publicity collateral then how much can you trust the products sold? And we are not only talking about small independent minicab offices behind the betting shop. We are talking about huge companies and organisations who employ overpriced hipsters to write their copy. Maybe that’s why we get TV adverts inviting us to ‘travel yourself interesting’, informing us that eating a certain hamburger will involve ‘lovin’ it’ and we should ‘Think different’ before buying a computer.
English is the world’s most commonly used language in business. it is the default language for air traffic control and medicine and is used by 1.5billion people, of whom around half a billion are native speakers. Is it too much to ask that where the language is on show we ensure it is correctly presented?