Monday, August 10, 2009

Signs of the Times

There's one thing you must know about Computer Geek and me.

We love finding visible evidence of the dumbing down of America. The only reason we do this is so that we can feel superior and have a good laugh at the expense of others. We guffaw about it over and over, saying "HA! At least we ain't THAT stupid!" It's a real self esteem booster.

Two of our favorites were seen on local business signs.

On a sign for a local bank: "Bank X welcomes back student's ! "

Now does that mean Bank X welcomes back student is? Or does that mean Bank X welcomes back something belonging to a student? But which student? And what? Oh, the confusion.

On a sign at a local kingdom starting with a "W" and ending with "Mart": "Preparation items for You and Your's."

You and Your Is? Come on, this is "W Mart!" Certainly they could afford to hire a sign maker who knows English. Or maybe they are purposely trying to dumb us down so that when they start selling Soylent Green, we won't notice.

It was with this spirit of mocking, laughing and pointing that I went to another state last week. Ok, so I didn't GO there with that in mind, but my already mocking heart was blackened once I got there.

I was walking downtown in one of the cutest, busiest, small town downtowns that I have ever seen. And as it is late summer, I noticed a sign on a sidewalk that said "Sumer Sale! 50% off!"

It took all my self control to avoid walking in the store and saying, "I noticed you are having a Sumerian sale. Do you have any tunics with a Mesopotamian flair? Maybe something from the Second Dynasty of Lagesh perhaps?" But no. I held myself back.

It wasn't until I saw the second sign, that I decided to take pictures.

Not only did the signmaker not know how to spell "bargain" but he or she appeared to have dotted the "a." Or did he initially have an "i" there and thought it just didn't look right? (Ooh, there's just enough room to squeeze an "a" right between that "g" and "i." If this sign looks familiar to your hometown, please go correct it for me. And yes, I am that OCD.)

By the time I saw the third sign that day, I was convinced that it is not only Utah that can't spell. This sign was posted in honor of all the motorcyclists coming through town, headed to Sturgis.

Now I can understand using a backward 3 when you don't have an "E" handy. But to misspell "biker?" Didn't we all learn to spell "biker" back in first grade? See Dick. Dick has a bike. Dick is a biker. See Jane. Jane has a trike. Jane is a triker. See Dick and Jane rev their motors and head to Sturgis.

Computer Geek and I are convinced that you will never find a sign with a misspelling in either Iowa or Washington. If you do, it was obviously written by someone who moved there from another state.


  1. I make those mistakes all the time Randi...and I'm English!

    It's the way you tell it that makes me laugh at myself rather than creep under a rock...or is that crawl?

    Guffaw is a brilyant word. Great reed.

  2. Ken: The English can make those mistakes and still be OK, because we will never know if it's on purpose or not---like colour, or labour or recognise. See? You're covered and no one will be any wiser. :)

  3. I thought Jane was a trekker...

  4. Bought a tin of Tuna....
    Label told me "contains fish"....

  5. Oh, Randi; you've opened a can of worms. Don't get me started. I've written an article on the incorrect use of apostrophes (and other sins against English).
    One is the over-use of the prefix "pre." For instance, pre-arranged. Does that mean a meeting was arranged prior to it being arranged? Pre-selected, pre-recorded, pre-packaged, pre-planning (funerals), and online bookstores offer pre-ordering of books.

  6. Winston: Depends on which galaxy.

    Pen: Ha ha! Contains fish! That's a good one!

    Auntie M: I have never thought about the over-use of "pre." It's heard everywhere, it seems. If you order a book, you order a book. If you pre-order do you order it before it's ordered? Yay! I've found something new to drive me nuts! :)

  7. Randi, we really need to hang out together! I think you're my lost sister :) I'm always picking out spelling and grammar mistakes. I go especially crazy when I find them in notes from my kids' teachers!

  8. septembermom: Yes! Yes! My son brought home a note last year from his LANGUAGE teacher that had these mistakes--- "They has to have..." and "Their needs to be..." Now I'm your found sister!

  9. You really ARE making allowances for us. I was kidding with brilyant and reed. I'll try not to be too clever in future.

    ps, notes from teachers that are wrong are fair game for criticism. We had a fair few. No allowances should be given.

  10. Ken: I knew you were kidding with brilyant and reed. However, I do like that spelling of brilyant. It looks very poetic in a Gaelic kind of way. Keep being clever--we love it!

    I am a teacher and I love it when people find a grammatical error that I have made. So I agree, no exceptions for teachers.

  11. !!!!! (that's me spewing out my drink)

    Oh hilarious. And even more hilarious? The comments here... brilyant, absolutely brilyant. I gotta remember that one.


  12. Daisy: I agree, the comments here have been brilyant and our Ken started it all! We are having such fun with this. I also loved Pen's tuna label that said "contains fish." Laughed at the thought of your drink flying everywhere!

  13. So, you can buy the entire "bargin" room for 50% off?
    I could use another room in my house...

  14. Jill: Good catch! Do you ever just feel like messing with people? Like walking into that store and saying, "I'd like the bargain room that's advertised for 50% off. When can I have it delivered?" I guess if I actually did all the things I think are funny, I would be one of those mean people.


You won't be paid for it, but at least you'll know that you have contributed intelligence to the universe...

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