Monday, 16 November 2009

Less is more

Still alive, not having been electrocuted by the wild sparking power line of doom over the weekend!  Hurrah! 

We drove up to see our lovely mates in Gloucester on Saturday morning, rather than on Friday night, as originally planned.  Apparently there were trees down all over the place, and floods, and all sorts.  We decided that trying to navigate all that lot in the dark was a bad idea, and it was more sensible to wait till daylight.  Saturday and Sunday were spent in the company of great friends, fine food and the rugby.  Marvellous.

Today, as is traditional these days, I was up in London for work.  After a refreshing four hours sleep, waking at 3.30am, then dozing, waking up with a start to look at the time, dozing some more, and finally getting up ten minutes before the alarm went off, I was shagged* by the time I got to the office.  A long day of meetings, climaxing in a load of complicated emails to write and send before I went home meant that I was in tip-top sparkling form for the train journey. 

The woman sat next to me was making notes on some industrial tribunal case (I gathered this from the bits I read sneakily while she wasn't looking), so if you are taking your boss to court after being a whistleblower, you might want to ask your legal team if they are in the habit of  doing their homework on the train of a night.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about today.  Oh no.  Much more serious matters are filling my head this evening.

A conversation in the pub on Friday night about grammatical errors on supermarket signs, specifically "Ten Items or Less" caused one of our mates to start frothing with righteous indignation at the appalling standard of grammar taught in schools today.  And presumably also in supermarkets.

"It's "Ten Items or FEWER"  not "Less"....Less is just WRONG!"  She was most insistent.  And oddly, the more we teased her about it, the more insistent she became.  Her fantastic, grammatically-correct rant culminated with a promise to find out the name and address of the Chief Executive of Morrison's and send him (or her) a scathing letter explaining how very, very wrong they are, and demanding that they amend all their signs IMMEDIATELY. 

I look forward to the reply.

It started me thinking about the whole Ten Items or Less** concept though.  If, for example, you picked up a Two For The Price Of One offer, say two boxes of cornflakes, would you technically be buying one, or two items? 

In theory, you could take 20 items through the Ten Items or Less*** aisle because you are actually only buying ten.  The other ten are free. 

Also, if you took one of the Buy One Get One Free items out of the shop without paying for it, are you stealing?  You could say that you are taking the Get One Free one, and leaving the Buy One in the shop.

Legal clarification would be helpful, before I go to the shops next.

*And not in a fun way.

**Heh, sorry Sarah

**I'm not going to stop doing it


@eloh said...

I'll have to consider this for awhile. I've grown very accustomed to the Ten Items or Less signs.

On the other hand, she must turn positively purple when she reads a newspaper. They don't seem to be using the old proofreaders anymore, not that they were ever perfect.

Z said...

If it's an exact number then it should be fewer. Though it has to be said that "ten items or fewer" sounds stilted, even though it's correct.

If it has to be scanned, then it's one of the ten items, whether or not it costs you anything. It's the number of items in your basket. Multipacks are all right, as they only have to be scanned once.

You have to buy one to receive the other one at no extra charge (it's not actually free of course, as the cost is built in to what you are paying).

Glad to be of pedantic assistance.

livesbythewoods said...

Eloh, we quite often have a good rant when we get together. It's very cathartic.

Z, you are quite right. I still think it's worth a try though.

First Mate said...

I have a friend who reacts with apoplectic indignation should anyone ever mention 'I'm jealous" when the correct terminology should apparently be "I'm envious". We've learned to live with it. And/or also ensure we mention both the first, then an apology, then the latter. Just to really piss him off. :-)

livesbythewoods said...

First Mate, I like your style!