Category Archives: Businesses

Classy Times and Bad Signs at the Hong Kong

If you’ve been to the Hong Kong in Boston, the Faneuil Hall bar known for its scorpion bowls, karaoke, and wild clientele, you know that it’s not exactly the prime venue for a classy evening.

So that’s why I wasn’t terribly surprised to see this sign there last weekend:

The text:


If you loose or can not produce your coat check tag, you must way until the close of business, to claim your belongings.

My reaction:



That’s the last time I go out without my Sharpie.  This picture will have to do for now.  But I plan on returning.

Useage in Maine

I often say that I’ve hit a new low.  Here’s a new kind of low:

I took a picture in a bathroom stall.

On an impromptu trip to the fantastic Maine Diner in Wells, Maine (home to the world’s best seafood chowder), I found a major spelling error.


It is never useage – it’s always spelled usage.

There’s also no period after sparingly – and the fact that there’s a period after toilet makes it all the more obvious.

This is the kind of sign that is sold in stores.  I wonder how many people have bought a sign like this!

Also, I hate to do it on so weird a post, but I’d love to wish a happy birthday to faithful reader dlipkin!  I hope you have an awesome day!

One of these days….

When I originally switched to WordPress, one of my goals was to start blogging ahead of time, so I could write a post on Tuesday night and have it posted on Thursday at around 10:30 PM, around the time when I usually post.  That’s because I usually go out on Thursdays.

I don’t think there will be too much of value in terms of posts tonight.  The photo uploader is giving me problems today, and we all know that photos are the cornerstone of this blog.

At any rate, I think it’s worth telling a story from my friend, Beth, who currently lives in Texas but is a Massachusetts native, like me, and recently spent time at home.

She stopped by the Linens-N-Things in our hometown, Reading.  She then spotted an egregious error on an advertisement.

She took a few pictures for me with her cell phone.  (Thought I’ve had my cell phone for well over two years — I’m thinking of getting an iPhone this summer once the new model comes out — I still haven’t figured out how to send picture messages to my email.)

On the advertisements for Linens-N-Things, they listed a word of which I had never heard.


As in, “It’s time for you to buy some dishes, afterall.”

Or, “We need to buy a rice cooker and an omelette cooker to fool all of our houseguests, afterall.”

AFTERALL is not a word, last time I checked, Linens-N-Things.

How could you be so ignorant?

Is nobody checking your work?

Come on, now.  It’s not that hard to run spellcheck.  Hell, if you ran this advertisement in Microsoft Word, originally, you would have the telltale squiggly red line underneath the word!  There is no excuse for spelling the word like that.

I keep worrying…I keep thinking that my efforts are futile…

Annoyances of Lately

My power cord died last week and it has been hellish trying to do anything on my computer with a universal cord (it once took me five minutes to type out a one-paragraph message on Facebook!).  I ordered a new one.

And this is what Dell had to say:

Not totally egregious…

Not the worst thing I’ve seen in the last few days…

But…it wouldn’t kill Dell to invest in a big of punctuation.

Also, I headed to Whole Foods after work yesterday (I absolutely LOVE that it’s so easy that Whole Foods in Charles River Plaza is a short walk from my new office and right on the way home!), not expecting anything but a few bagfuls of organic fruit and some of that FANTASTIC fresh mozzarella that they have on display in the produce section.

And there came the grammar.

I saw a sign near the register that mentioned how Whole Foods does work EACH DAY to help people living with HIV/AIDS.  The sign, however, said EVERY DAY.

I was so surprised and happy.  It seems like everyone just says EVERYDAY lately.  It’s gotten to the point that when I see EVERY DAY instead of EVERYDAY, when meaning EACH DAY, I become giddy.

That shouldn’t happen!  I shouldn’t be expecting the worst!!

It was correct.  After all, it was Whole Foods.  This is the grocery store featuring more expensive and healthful food, and therefore likely attracts a highly educated clientele.

It made me happy.

And then I saw the sign on the back of the register, facing the customer:


No question mark.

Aw, and to think it was so good…

I would love to see a business free of grammatical errors.  It would be even better if it were a chain.  And who knows?  Maybe that’s one of Whole Foods’s goals.  These signs were handmade and exclusive to the Charles River Plaza store.

I’ll let you know if I find anything else.

1 Sauce, 2 Sauce, 3 Sauce, FAIL

The following picture was snapped by reader Lindsey of Just Browsering:

Location: McDonald’s, somewhere in California (I believe)

You know, this makes me think about the effect that McDonald’s could have.  If a company as large as McDonald’s (or Starbucks — though Starbucks is losing the golden touch) made an effort to use perfect grammar on all signs, we might notice eventual long-term effects.

Of course, they’re supposed to be doing that anyway.

Hmmm.  There’s a bit of a hole in the logic…

A nice glass of “ice tea”

You know, sometimes I think that I’ll never find another pet peeve.  Then I end up searching for an ice maker (don’t ask).  While searching for ice makers, here is what popped up instead:


Ooh, I hate it when people call it ice tea.  It is not simply tea made of ice — it is tea that has had been iced and therefore iced tea.

At times, it seems like more people are saying ice tea than iced tea, at least up here in the northeast.  (I’m pretty sure that sweet tea is the term preferred in the southern and midwestern states.)

The fact that either Lowes or the manufacturers spelled this wrong only perpetuates this myth.

Have you noticed this?

New Mexico Errors

Here are two of the pictures that I took in Las Cruces, New Mexico:


The company is called Bilt-Wel.  Yeah, it’s a proper name…but you know it irks you!


The only time the words “old fashion” should be used is when referring to pantaloons, shoulder pads or other outdated items of couture.

Look what I found!

Location: McIntyre & Moore Booksellers, Davis Square, Somerville, Massachusetts

Check that out!

I didn’t do that. That was already there.

That was a laminated piece of paper — so that was some heavy-duty grammar vandalism, indeed!

Vertical Lettering

I’m having trouble posting pictures tonight, so I’m going to post about something I was thinking about yesterday.

I was walking down Union Park Street in the South End of Boston (better known as my dream address) and came across Aunt Sadie’s, a lovely little gift shop.

The sign had the letters listed vertically:



There was no apostrophe on the sign, though the apostrophe was used on every other occurence of the store’s name.

That got me thinking. How would it be appropriate to include an apostrophe on a vertical sign like this? I wonder if anyone has ever thought about this before.

There are three options:

  1. Use no apostrophe
  2. Put the apostrophe above the S and below the E
  3. Add the apostrophe to the right of the E

#2 sounds like it would make it look worse, and to strict grammarians, #1 is worst of all.

I think that #3 would be the way to go. If it were me, however, I would have made it a bit different than the other letters — maybe I’d make it a different font; maybe I’d put it at an angle. That’s just what I’d do for aesthetic reasons.

What do you think?

Hair Extentions

I noticed this little beauty while driving home from my mom’s place in Wakefield:

Location: Main Street and Montvale Avenue, Stoneham, MA

Yikes. It should be Hair Extensions.

Even Jessica Simpson gets it correct.

On Pronouncing "Les Deux"

This next post is not exactly about grammar, nor is it about the English language. However, it falls within the lines of several topics we discuss. (And I can guarantee at least one reader, Lee, is going to love the topic!)

There is a club in Los Angeles called Les Deux. It’s very popular with celebrities. “Les Deux” is French for both, or, literally, “the two.” It is (roughly) pronounced lay DUH.

I got roped into watching The Hills one day with my roommates, and Lauren Conrad pronounced it “la DOO.” That surprised me.

I just chalked it up to her being, well, dumb. The stars of The Hills aren’t exactly future rocket scientists.

A few months later, I had to call the club for work.

I’m always deliberately vague of what, exactly, I do for work, but I can tell you that it involves a lot of VIP access, exclusive offers, nightlife, that kind of thing, mostly in Las Vegas but also in Los Angeles, New York and worldwide. (Going to Vegas? I’ll hook you UP.) I was trying to get a table at Les Deux for one of my clients a few weeks ago.

I dialed the number.

“Hello, la DOO.”

I was thrown through a loop. Apparently, everyone pronounced it this way.

I spoke to the manager and arranged the table for my client. I was dying of curiosity, so I had to ask her:

“Tell me,” I began, “why do all of you pronounce it la DOO?”

She paused. “That’s how it’s pronounced.”

“Well,” I said gingerly, “actually, in French, it’s pronounced lay DUH. It means both.”

“Oh,” she said. “That’s just how it’s always been.”

I didn’t lecture her or anything. I wasn’t about to do that.

Anyway, I have a point to all this.

This is similar to people who insist that “everytime” is a word, that “everyday” is interchangeable with “every day,” that “definately” is the correct spelling. These are very basic errors. People know that they are being incorrect, but they choose to continue to be incorrect rather than to learn how to do the right thing.

Keep in mind that I do not expect people to know how to pronounce French words. That’s not fair. I do, however, expect the staff to pronounce their nightclub’s name correctly. If the staff gets it right, the world will follow. If it’s the cool place to be, everyone will try to outdo each other by pronouncing the word perfectly. Enough of my clients try to pronounce La Esquina or Felidia with ethnic flair, thinking it makes them sound authentic.

One last thing: le DOO is how someone would pronounce le doux, meaning “the sweet.” So maybe that’s another meaning to the club’s name.

Do you have thoughts on this?