The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

August 26, 2013

The real public crisis: Businesses that can’t spell or use numbers correctly

Monday, August 26, 2013 — The world has been facing an epidemic for some time now that only seems to be getting worse.

Forget Benghazi, forget the IRS scandal, forget the train wreck that is Obamacare. On second thought, don’t forget them. But now is the time to focus on this important topic in America today.

Businesses that can’t spell their names correctly or use numbers the wrong way are destroying America as we know it. Some call it witty and creative ways to grab a shopper’s attention. I can only sigh and call it the dumbing down of our country.

We live in a world where texting has become as commonplace as casual conversation. People don’t have time to text “I’ll see you tomorrow” or “I’ll be there tonight.” Instead, it’s “I’ll C U 2moro” or “I’ll B there 2nite.”

4COL! (That’s “for crying out loud” for all you non-texters).

School starts back for students in Stanly County and across most of the state on Monday. Teachers already have a tough time getting students to focus on classroom assignments, especially in subjects such as English and math, without having to fight the common misspellings and misuse of numbers that are associated with texting and other forms of communication.

I hope one of Albemarle’s candidates for mayor has this on their platform.

Academic-Capital.net recently released a report on the world education rankings in reading and math. The U.S. is tied for 17th in reading with a score of 500. That’s considered average. In math, we’re 33rd with a score of 487, which is below average.

Countries such as Japan, Germany, Finland and China are way ahead of us in those categories. And those businessmen know it’s Toyota, not “Yota.” And they’ll never mistake Wiener Schnitzel (a thin, breaded and deep fried Schnitzel from veal) for Wienerschnitzel (the most popular hot dog fast food chain in America).

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the Whataburger in nearby Mount Pleasant. My wife loves the popular West Coast burger chain In-N-Out Burger. We all crave some Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts, too.

But what would the world be like if those businesses were spelled correct? I could rest easier at night knowing I could get a greasy burger from “What A Burger” or a chocolate-filled doughnut at “Dunking Doughnuts.”

At least Krispy Kreme knows how to spell “doughnuts” instead of “donuts,” as you can plainly see from their bright red “HOT DOUGHNUTS NOW” sign. But if I want to upload some pictures on the website “Flicker,” Google thinks I’ve lost my mind and suggests “Flickr” instead.

Sigh.

It’s the same with numbers. The next time you hear a furniture or car commercial, check how creative the pitchmen are with their words. “Get this sofa and love seat for just seven ninety-nine” or “this new Kia Ultima can be yours for just one ninety-nine a month.”

If that’s the case, I’ll take four sofas and love seats. Heck, that comes out to just over $32. I’ll make a killing selling these again on eBay. And who wouldn’t love a new car for just $1.99 a month. The gas alone would cost more than the vehicle itself.

Why just the other day, I saw a sign in town for ribs that were $199. Take out the decimal, and those are some really expensive ribs.

I would say now is the time to rise up and put these businesses in their place. But what’s a guy to do when M&M Mars purposely misspells the name of its most popular candy bar for a new ad campaign just because people spell it wrong when searching for it on the Internet.

According to BusinessInsider.com, Snickers teamed up with Google back in May to find the 500 most misspelled words on the Internet. Snickers brought up 25,000 misspelled search terms in the process, just to be funny.

Now here’s where it gets cute. The company tie-in? “You can’t spell when you’re hungry.”

Snicker.

During the promotion, if you typed in the word “buisness” in Google instead of “business,” you’d get the standard query “Did you mean: Business?” But you’d also get as the first search term a link to yourenotyou whenyourehungry.com, which had a tagline “Yu cant spel properlie wen hungrie Grab yourself a Snikkers.”

I can spell hungry. But if I want to stick to my guns, I can’t do it with a KitKat, Krackel or York Peppermint Pattie. I’ll have to do it with a Crunch, Hershey or Mr. Goodbar.

Maybe when school starts we should also include the CEOs of some of these businesses in classroom subjects where we’re failing the most, especially reading and writing. It’s obvious businesses such as Qwest, Toys R Us, Kraft and Chick-fil-A need it more than the rest of us smart people do.

But I guess for now, I’ll just sulk in silence. Besides, I’ve got to head to “Wall Mart” to do some shopping later today. I figured I’ll pick up a frozen peezah or some hat dugs for dinner later tonight.

To submit story ideas, contact Jason O. Boyd at (704) 982-2121 ext. 28 or email at jason@stanlynewspress.com.

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