Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Save the Syllables!

We have a grim crisis here in the United States, folks.


I’m not talking about the silly economy. Or the silly environment.

I’m talking about syllables.

People are wasting syllables EVERY DAY. It’s tragic.

They’re using up big words as if the syllable fairy comes each night to bring more. Ahem.

This sign, parked on all the tables at Portillo's, was the last straw. It's why I’m launching Save the Syllables.

Not People for the Ethical Treatment of Syllables. Not the Society for the Conservation of Syllables.

Too many syllables.

Just Save the Syllables.
Let’s dissect this lovely bit of lunacy, shall we?

To our guests.

Clue: We’re all guests. Except employees. And they should damn well know better.

And frankly, I have a problem with guests. We weren’t invited. It sure as shit ain’t free. We’re customers, dammit.

Please help us keep our costs down…

1) I’m a customer and I’m supposed to help you? With anything? No. I’m always right and I will do as I damn well please. Now maybe if I happened to be a ‘guest’ and the meal happened to be free, I’d feel obligated to help you. Maybe.
2) Help us keep our…okay, if we did go along with the whole customers-helping-Portillo’s thing, it would have to be ‘Help us keep YOUR costs down’. Right?
3) Better still, let’s ditch the extra pronoun and adjective. Why can’t it be: Help keep costs down?
4) Fuck that. The whole sentence goes.

Here’s where it starts getting good:

By discarding all paper items…

Discarding? Paper items? All of them? Are you sure?

How about: Throw out your trash.

It’s simple. It’s direct. Perhaps not as elegant as discarding your paper items, but this ain’t Britain. We’re Americans and we have trash.

Furthermore, what if I’m not done with all of my paper items? Does it make me a bad guest if I leave with a napkin for blowing my nose later?

Also: What should be done with non-paper items? Styrofoam isn’t paper. It’s a mysterious combination of styro and, well, foam. Do we discard that, too, or just leave it on the fucking table with the plastic forks and ketchup packets?
In the appropriate garbage units…

Where are the inappropriate garbage units? Are they particularly trashy? (I know – lame – I couldn’t resist.)

Now I’ve got all this anxiety about discarding my paper items in the appropriate garbage unit. Serious anxiety. Is this the right one? Or maybe it’s this one? Stress.

And what the fuck is a garbage unit?

Unit: an individual thing or person regarded as single and complete, esp. for purposes of calculation : the family unit.
• each of the individuals or collocations into which a complex whole may be divided : large areas of land made up of smaller units | the sentence as a unit of grammar.
• a device that has a specified function, esp. one forming part of a complex mechanism : the gearbox and transmission unit.

Nope. No mention of garbage-related units.
In case you're thinking Portillo's cares about the environment and offers multiple garbage units with which to sort your paper and non-paper related items, no. Nope. No.
Shall we continue?

Located in the dining area…

Ahhhh. So the inappropriate garbage units are not located in the dining area? Maybe.

Why do they need to be located anywhere?

Why can’t they just be? These units. Of garbage.
Who are these signs for, exactly?

The folks who clean up after ourselves don’t need a sign. We just do it.

And the morons who need to be told to clean up after themselves probably aren’t going to pay attention to a poorly phrased plastic placard. You could slap them on the forehead with a hot dog and it wouldn’t matter – they’d still leave their shit behind.

Yes, I know that first sentence wasn’t exactly grammatically correct. Shaddap or I'll smack you on the forehead with a hot dog.
Please throw away your trash.

Thank you!

Doesn’t that just feel better?

It’s less stressful. And it shouldn’t take an advanced degree to figure out what to do with your hot dog wrapper.
The only thing that’s missing from Portillo's grammatical abortion of a sign is ‘utilize’.

I hate utilize.

Hate it.

Please use 'use'. Utilize is complicated and showy. Use is simple. Three syllables versus one.

In these tough times, please folks, let’s save our syllables. We just might need them later.
I am listening to: One - U2
I am reading: Notes for the first entry of my eCommerce project blog (yay!)
And I am: Fine


Anonymous said...

The "waste the syllables" comment to your post:
Your observations regarding the incomprehensibilities of the sign on your service table were illuminating and entertaining while simultaneously demonstrating the unnecessary disproportionableness of the authorship. Your take on the floccinaucinihilipilification of the sign was spot on and there was a sincere honorificabilitudinitatibus in your authorship. I’m sure that as an antitransubstantiationalist your skepticism of the sign’s effectiveness was rooted in a sincere aversion to the hippopotomonstrosesquipedalian nature of the authors choice of words.

The "save the syllables" comment to your post:

And yes… these are all words... google it...


Cindiloo said...

I would like to know how much the signs cost them. Did they have to pay by the letter? Are they UTILIZED at each restaurant and on each table?

How much is my burger going to cost me now?

What another example of wastefulness. By any chance are they connected with AIG?

Susan's Snippets said...

Well after reading that post you can certainly tell....

it is not friday in hedyville

Dave said...

Susan stole my comment.

Why are you eating at a place with trash units and plastic while on vacation?