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And I don’t mean “Reuse, Reduce and Recycle”. Sigh. Oh, no. I’m talking about the original three R’s – reading, (w)riting and (a)rithmetic.  And maybe you already know what I mean by the need for them. Because all too often, it seems those r-words have been replaced with a double-D word: dumbed down.

You probably also know this is another one of my rants in the making.

I initially pondered writing about this subject a few months ago, when a trip through the check-out line went downhill faster than an Olympic skier. My bill had come to $11.81. I handed the cashier $21.81. Quick, people – do the math. My change? An even ten-spot. $10. The cashier looked at me as if I’d lost my mind by daring to throw a wrench in the cash register, as it were (no, people – not a real wrench. Work with me, here). For the next few minutes, the line behind me grew, as the cashier tried to determine how much change to hand me. Had I not been so dumbfounded by her inability to do second-grade math, I’d have offered up the answer myself.

Thinking it was a one-time fluke, though, I quickly forgot about her challenge brought on by figuring out change. Until I was confronted with yet another numbers-challenged cashier over the weekend. My total? $4.24. So I handed her $10.25. Quick! What’s my change?? That’s right – $6.01. The cashier in question, of course, wasn’t that quick on the draw. In fact, she grabbed a piece of paper in an effort to figure out my change, and STILL couldn’t figure it out. Unable to  contain myself a moment longer, I spoke:

“Excuse me. The answer you’re looking for is $6.01…”

This from the same store that featured numerous “cute” tins, with things like “Bee Mine” and “Luv” and “Q-T-Pie” in the holiday aisle. It’s not that I don’t have a sense of humor or patience for a play on words and the like, it’s simply that I’m really tired of products, businesses and services that spell their name – or product name – INCORRECTLY. Moreover, they do it on PURPOSE! If you think they don’t exist beyond the holiday candy aisle, think again. Here are a few examples that drive me batty:

  • Kiddie Day Kare
  • Road Kill Kafe (true story – saw the sign for myself several years ago)
  • Rite-Aid
  • Krispie Kreme

Even my 9-year-old asked why this restaurant purposely mis-spells its name:

  • Chick-fil-A

Ok, Ok – enough is enough. I realize it may seem cute and all, but please!

Let’s move on to my brother and sister-in-law’s recent trip to a pizza place. A sign in the restaurant read that they now have a waitress – if you want to eat in, you just take a seat! If you’re carrying out, you proceed to the counter. Sounds simple enough, right?

It seems that after they’d taken a seat, it took a while for the waitress to show up.

“Are you guys eating in or ordering to go?”

“We’ll be eating in,” they told the waitress.

“Would you like something to drink.”

“Yes, that would be great.”

“Do you want to get your own drink, or would you like me to get it?”

(I’m already thinking this chick had no desire for a tip. Maybe she was just independently wealthy…)

“You can get our drinks for us,” they told her.

Next came the funniest:

“Do you know what you’d like?” the waitress asked.

“We’ll just have a medium pepperoni pizza.”

“We don’t have a medium.”

“OK. Well, what do you have?”

“We have a 17-inch, a 19-inch, and a 21-inch.”

Let’s think this through. They offer three pizzas. One is relatively small. Another is relatively large. The third is not small or large. Nope it’s somewhere right in the middle. Hmm… wait! Could it be… a medium?!?!

Clearly, in addition to a resurgence of the three R’s, we are in dire need of some CS – common sense!

Heavy sigh.

I could only hope for my brother’s sake that he was paying with a credit card.


Liz, can we please take Krispy Kreme off the creative spelling hit list? The sheer deliciousness of the doughnuts more than makes up for the switching of “C” to “K”. I promise. Also, do you remember this guest rant from a Coffee Break reader: Guest Rant – My Head is Going to Explode, Literally ? She feels your pain.

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