On The Grammar Offensive  

, , , , , | Right | November 18, 2019

(I work in an outdoor clothing retail store that uses a hand-written chalkboard for our sidewalk sign. The sale has just changed this morning and, being in a rush to also change all the interior signs, and all the regular opening duties, I don’t go back to spell-check my sign. I normally have decent spelling so I’m not too worried about it. It gets busy right away and I am already trying to help five to six people when this older lady comes in — probably in her 70s — and just kind of stands near me while I am talking to another customer. I make eye contact and smile to acknowledge her and finish up with the customer I am helping.)

Me: “Do you need a hand with anything or have any questions?”

Older Lady: “Did you know your sign is spelled wrong?”

Me: *pauses* “Oh?”

Older Lady: “Yes, your sign is spelled wrong! The word ‘reduced’ is spelt with a C, not an S!”

Me: *already slightly annoyed because she is wasting my time when I have other customers who actually need my help* “Sorry about that. I will take a look and fix it when I have a moment.”

Older Lady: “You’d better fix it! It’s offensive to those of us who can actually spell!”

Me: *internally rolling my eyes* “Yes, I will fix it. Have a good day!”

(I turned away to help another customer before she could say anything else. She stomped out of the store probably thinking she had done her “good deed” for the day by saving us all from poor spelling. All I could think about while she was being so offended by our sign was how little she must know of what is going on in the world if an incorrectly spelled word is what she finds offensive. And next time? All it would take is a polite “Excuse me? Do you know your sign has a spelling error? Just letting you know,” versus practically throwing a tantrum in my store.)

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