Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Am I Seeing Things? Yes. Wrong Things.

It’s no secret (well, maybe from the police) that I went over to the local high school, in the dark, and corrected a sign using a black Sharpie.  Had I been caught, we don’t know that I would have been arrested for vandalism.  I contend that I would have been given a medal. Cops drive around with medals in their glove boxes, right?  If not, they should, because they never know when they might run across a do-gooder such as myself.

The sign had said, “Slow Students Ahead.”  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how insulting this is to one’s children.  So I added a semicolon after “slow.” And now the universe is one of improved order, don’t you think?

I don’t need to bore you with the other tales of my community service.  Instead I wrote a book about a crazy lady (NOT me) who has a cooking show (NOT me) and who corrects grammar and spelling on public signs (sometimes me).  It’s called Sisters in the Mix and it’s available for peanuts on Kindle.  The paperback version, at CreateSpace, is also super cheap (the price, not the writing).  Check out the reviews.

Anyway, my efforts do not seem to be educating the unwashed masses, because on a recent trip to Ross, I found not one, but two misspelled signs for sale in the home goods area. (Scroll down and you'll see them.)  Now you’re thinking, “Hey, it was Ross—what did you expect?”  But I like Ross.  I expect their merchandise to be… okay, I don’t expect much from Ross, to be honest.  But misspelled home accent signs?

Lest you think I am making this up, I shall post photos of the offending signs.  What gets me, besides the fact that someone designed them with glaring errors in them, is that at least 10 people had to see these mistakes and nobody caught them.  First you have the doobie who thought up the phrase and wrote it down misspelled.   Then you have a boss who nodded and said, “Yeah, okay, we can make those.”  Then you have the person who painted the sign.  Then someone who framed it.  Then the buyer at Ross who purchased it.  Then you have the sales staff who unpacked the box, tagged it with a price, and put it on the shelf (this could be three separate people), and then a store manager who  theoretically walks by the merchandise from  time to time.  So a small village of people who are ruining America one letter at a time.

Let’s look at the first sign, obviously designed to hang over a bathtub.  BREATH SOAK ESCAPE, it says.  Not breathe, but breath.  And don’t tell me they’re made in China by non-English  speakers.  China or no China, they still have to pass through American hands to get on the shelf.

Now check out the second one:  ALL MEN ARE IDOTS AND I MARRIED THEIR KING. Really?  Idots?  First of all, even if it had been spelled right, this is a stupid, sexist statement that would infuriate women if it were said about us.  But to “go to press” with the missing "i" is inexcusable.  Or should I say nexcusable?  Granted, anyone can have a typo in their work—I find them in mine all the time.  But a sign is short and easy to proofread.  Plus, as I said, it goes through many sets of eyes.  Something tells me that the person who wrote this, married to the Idot King, has actually found her perfect match.

I called my husband, Bob, over to see these signs and asked, “Do you think I should take them up front to the cashiers and show them the mistakes?”

He shook his head.  “No; all you’ll find up there are other idots.”  I fear he is right.


  1. Oh, my, Joni, that is hilarious! As a court reporter, I am constantly correcting people's grammar, spelling and word usage errors. (In writing only -- I'm not rude enough to do it to their faces!) My children call me a "grammar Nazi." I guess I could be called worse, right?

  2. Hahaha! This brings back memories :) My sister received a lovely tile with the words "I believe in angles" on it. She artfully used her exacto knife and moved letters, but we still chuckle about the "angles" we believe in.

  3. I'm a Sharpie Commando too, with my eye out for missing adverbs: "Play Safe" and "Think Different" ... but adverbs are doomed because advertising and journalists "went missing" (that's an OUCH too) when the grammar class began. So kiss your sweet "ly" goodbye and get used to wincing.

    My nephew had his girlfriend's name Megan tattooed on his stomach in high school except it came out as Magen. Just as well since he married Cari.

  4. Cynthia said...
    We're these signs really at Ross??? I love your blog :). I'm putting it on my "inspiration" list on my blog.

    February 20, 2013 at 12:23 AM