Saturday, December 15, 2007

Signs of the Season

Everyone knows by now that I get extremely frustrated when I see signs with spelling or punctuation errors. It’s one thing if an error is in print; I read it once, groan loudly, and that’s that. It’s one thing if I hear it on TV; I hear it once, shout my disgust, and that’s that.

It’s quite another thing altogether if I see a mistake on a sign. For one thing, it’s bigger than life. If I see a sign outside a business, an unnecessary apostrophe might be bigger than my whole head, and on top of that, it’s usually lit up to shine its misspelled word for a mile. And as the most exasperating thing of all, I have to pass a sign day in and day out, enough times to raise my blood pressure.

Sometimes I try to rectify the situation. Wendy’s in Ellsworth, for instance, has a big sign out front containing the word CHEDDER. After I had shuddered innumerable times and tried not to look the rest of the time, I finally got an opportunity to go in.
“Do you know the word “cheddar” is misspelled on your sign out front?” I ventured. “It is AR, not ER.”
The clerk just said, “Huh?”
I repeated my question.
“Oh,” was the response I got. This was a couple of weeks ago. The word CHEDDER is still there. Nobody cares.

My only consolation is that it’s winter. In the summer, millions of tourists make their way to neighboring Acadia National Park, and the only way they can get there by land is through Ellsworth, and the only road that leads to the park boasts a lit-up sign right by the street that says CHEDDER. How embarrassing!

So yesterday we were going to Bangor and, right on the road into Ellsworth, I saw another sign. “WINDSHIELD WIPERS INSTALED FREE.”
I snorted, and Ed said his usual, “What now?”
“That sign,” I said. “It’s missing a letter.”
I pointed. Ed looked and rolled his eyes.
“But,” I said cheerily, “at least it’s in keeping with the season. We ought to go in there and thank them for their Christmas message.”
Ed was perplexed. “What Christmas message?” he asked.
I smiled. “NO L.”

It’s an old joke, but hey, whatever gets me to laugh at a misspelled word has something going for it!


Laurie said...

I'm the same way with signs! Augh! There is a billboard in OK City (and this is an advertising ploy, someone thought this was CUTE) for an urgent care center that says "EM/URGENCY"~~no space or slash, just a change in color...I can't stand it! Again I wonder, what's it like to go through life without proofreading everything? Sadly, we will never know....


Joy said...

TCBY recently had a huge poster (not made by hand but professionally printed) that said "Have Your Cheesecake and Eat It To." To make matters worse, the TCBY was within one block of two high schools, an elementary school, and a middle school! I wanted to add an extra "o" to the last word with a Sharpie, but my husband threatened to abandon me in the store if I did. So I emailed the corporate HQ. I never got a response, but within 2 weeks, the poster had been replaced with another promoting a different product there. I can only hope they got rid of all the other thousands of misspelled posters in other TCBY establishments around the country! I doubt my email had anything to do with it, but one can only hope :-)