Tag Archives: shopping

Penalty for possession

Long before the Word Nymph aired her first grievance, a friend had whispered a complaint into my sympathetic ear. She wondered what prompted those close to her, God-love-’em, to make the names of all restaurants and retailers possessive.

She observed that her mother, along with so many of our mothers’ generation, always adds an apostrophe + s to the name of just about every business in town.

Perhaps it’s because so many businesses used to be owned by individuals: Mario’s Pizza. Harry’s Bar. Bertha’s Mussels. (All right, not Bertha’s; that’s another story.)

Years ago, department store names, such as Woodward & Lothrop, The Hecht Company and R.H. Macy & Co. were shortened to such neighborly nicknames as Woodies, Hecht’s and Macy’s. The nicknames took hold, to no one’s objection. Eventually, these stores branded their possessives.

Now, however, businesses whose names were neither possessive to begin with nor shortened to nicknames are being made so by those who link every business to a person.

In this shopping season, let us be reminded to call our retailers by their correct names. It is Nordstrom, not Nordstrom’s. Lord & Taylor, not Lord & Taylor’s.

Far more egregious examples exist with regard to restaurants. It’s gone rampant. Let us not assume that every restaurant is named after a person. Restaurants take great care to give their establishments fitting and clever names, many of which don’t bear the moniker of the owner, founder or chef. Yet we can’t seem to help adding an apostrophe + s. Examples of these violations are too numerous to mention, many coming from within my own circle.

Maybe these complaints are nit-picky. Can we at least agree that, when the name of a business has a possessive built in, we should fight any urge to add an apostrophe + s?

Here’s an example. A Mexican restaurant near me is called Mi Rancho, Spanish for “My Ranch.” Is it not redundant to call it Mi Rancho’s? The same goes for any establishment beginning in Mon, Mes, Notre, Nuestro or any other possessive pronoun, as well as any beginning with Chez.

This also stands when the name of the restaurant is a noun; Panera, for example, meaning “Bakery.” In English, we would not say we are going to the bakery’s. Why, then, do we say we’re having lunch at Panera’s? Let’s not.

Sorry for the grumpies. I’ve suddenly become very hungry.

(But while we’re at it, it’s Williams-Sonoma, not Williams and Sonoma. Jones New York, not Jones of New York.)

When in doubt, take your cue from the sign:

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Beauty and Fashion, Food, Marketing/Advertising/PR, Rants and Raves

Size matters

When the alarm sounded this morning, there were visions of lumens dancing in my head.

It was obvious that I hadn’t adequately cleared my cranium following yesterday’s marathon search for a new portable LCD projector. After hitting six stores, I came home empty-handed and light-headed.

You see, I have immediate need for a teeny-weeny portable projector to show presentations around the country. The most striking lesson I learned is that one man’s portable is another man’s albatross.

1000-lumen bulb

You might already know all this, but here’s what else I’ve learned:

  1. It’s all about the lumens. For the unenlightened, a lumen is a unit of luminous flux, or brightness. The more lumens the better. Any fewer than 1,000 is considered impotent.

  2. The challenge is finding mega lumens in a small package. Two pounds—about eight inches in length—is an ideal size, yet a portable projector must be able to be stored in a small space, and not arouse suspicion at the airport.

  3. They actually make a “pocket projector.” One salesman boasted that, at 50 lumens (pfft!), his packs as much punch as a thousand. Nice try, mister.

  4. There’s a difference between an LCD and a DLP display. Apparently, looking at a DLP can give you a headache of not-tonight-honey proportions.

  5. While I can grasp such measures as resolution, contrast ratio and viewable screen size, I’m puzzled by something called “throw ratio range.” I gather that’s the distance it’ll go when it suffers performance anxiety in front of an audience and I hurl it across the room.

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Filed under Technology and Social Media, Travel

Happy new year

Everyone knows the real New Year begins the day after Labor Day. January 1st is just a date that brings a new calendar but not much else of significance.

Historically, school starts the day after Labor Day, though many jurisdictions have bumped it to August. Congress is back, Washington traffic will build to its usual awful and the white shoes of those who observe proper etiquette are aptly stored in boxes until next May.

It’s time for resolutions. Last Labor Day, I gave up coffee, but the old demon has dripped back into my life. Time to filter out that and other bad habits that brewed over the summer—the trips to Baskin Robbins, the chips and dips, the carbonated beverages.

It used to be that Labor Day was marked by the Jerry Lewis Multiple Dystrophy telethon, but this year it was a condensed telethon sans Jerry. In honor of Jerry—and because I was a little down—I spent much of yesterday on the sofa, watching a marathon of Jerry Lewis movies on Antenna TV.

Several times over the weekend, I heard from parents who had dropped their freshmen off at college. While sitting with a friend Sunday night, we traded observations about how the college drop-off has changed over the last 30 years.

After filling multiple carts at Bed Bath and Beyond, parents now haul truckloads of electronics, appliances, shelving and bedding (coordinated between roommates) into kids’ dorms, make their beds, set out their color-coded file folders on their neatly organized desks, hang bulletin boards, place their folded tee shirts and underwear into school-issued dressers, set out mailing supplies for writing Grandma, and leave them behind with hugs, tearful goodbyes and as much advice as we can hurl at them while pulling out of the parking lot.

I shared with my friend a memory of moving into my freshman dorm. Granted, I was just moving across town. Regardless, on the night before classes began, I packed one large turquoise pleather suitcase, grabbed an afghan I had crocheted that summer, watched Jerry Lewis sing his ceremonial “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and drove myself to college.

It’s the day after Labor Day once again and I’m looking forward to a happy New Year. It was kind of a weird summer for me, so I’m not particularly sorry to leave it behind. Here’s to a new school year, to resolutions, to fabulous fall fabrics. And to Jerry Lewis.

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Filed under Food, Health, Holidays, Movies, Television and Radio

To be discontinued

It’s getting more and more difficult to find the simple things I need in life; so many have been discontinued. I’m not sure the difference between a plot and a ploy, but it feels like one of the two has been waged against me.

It seems ridiculous, but I just went on eBay to buy barrettes. Simple barrettes, at one time the simplest ones they made. I used to buy them at the grocery store in batches because I lose them. I was down to one, and I lost it last weekend. And now I’m lost without it.

I know it sounds stupid. It’s a hair notion, not a lifeline. Still, I use one every day and only one kind meets my hair control needs, the Goody Stay Tight 3-inch Tortoise Barrette. It’s made of only two simple pieces:  one bent strip of metal and a three-inch-long faux tortoise-shell cover. That’s it. No springs, no hinges, no teeth. And no clip, claw or Scrunchie will do.

I bought my last pack in 1997. When I was down to three, I began shopping for more. Stores had stopped carrying them. As with my treasured SweeTarts, I took to making special trips, even looking in stores out of town. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you.

The same thing has happened with our china pattern, our bed linens, my lipstick shade, my wallet, the travel size of my fragrance and the whisk I use to make salad dressing. Hamburger Hamlet even had the nerve to discontinue the Special Mayonnaise they put on my favorite sandwich.

I will now wait patiently for eight barrettes to come in the mail; that’s all the seller had in her possession. We’ll see how long they last before I go must back on the hunt.

Maybe I should try the Smithsonian.

So what is the difference between a plot and a ploy? Is there one against you too?

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Feelin’ groovy

A few weeks ago, on my way to brunch with friends in Georgetown, while walking along historic and charming M Street, I had a childhood flashback.

The year was 1969 and Georgetown was where it was at. We lived about 15 miles outside the city. One Saturday, my mother took me in to Georgetown to go to what she called the “psychedelic shops.”

Regardless of what psychedelic meant in 1969, I imagine Mom wanted us to see things that Annandale, Virginia’s Mademoiselle dress shop or G.C. Murphy didn’t carry. I assume she wanted to see bright colors, wild patterns in shocking pink and lime green, big hoop earrings and bead necklaces. After all, she was only 34.

I don’t remember everything we saw, but I do remember buying a diary with a brightly colored, flashy-designed vinyl cover.

There was an energy in the streets and storefont windows that we didn’t get in the suburbs. That day might have been what later inspired me to apply to Georgetown University, as if I had a prayer of being admitted.

It might have also jump-started my fondness for flashy bright colors and big dangly earrings.

Yesterday, a friend commented to me about the traits we get from our mothers.

Today, I’d like to say: Thanks, Mom, for that day in Georgetown, for passing on the shopping gene, and for my taste in groovy clothes. And of course, values and all that.  Happy 75th Birthday!

Peace and love.

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Filed under Beauty and Fashion, Family and Friends