Nomenclature

Using the proper names for things makes life easier. Granted, we all call things by our own name for them at one time or another. Even if our name for an object is easily discernible for others, it may still be the wrong name. Often times I am required to do a little detective work as a retail professional – someone is looking for a product without having the name. This can certainly cause confusion or a little frustration. But, for me, it can also cause personal entertainment.

Tuesday a gentleman came to my bakery counter and inquired about ancient bread. The smart ass in me wanted to say, “Yeah, I just found a loaf from 2009. You’ll have to scrape off the crusty mold, and I recommend not trying to slice it as it would crumble. Is that ancient enough for you?” Fortunately I’m not as stupid as I look so I held my tongue. We carry something called Ancient Grain Cranberry Bread – it’s one of our best sellers. So, no real detective work there; just some jokes which I couldn’t share at the moment.

On Monday I helped a lady find a product she was looking for, but then I almost couldn’t answer her non-work-related question. She asked me how far down the road the “barbeque store” was. Um, barbeque store? I told her I wasn’t sure, I don’t get out too much and have never shopped there. She was about to walk away when I had my epiphany. (Had I tallied more than a mere thirty minutes of sleep the night before – the day after turning the clocks AHEAD – I may have realized this immediately.) “Do you mean Mission Barbeque?” I asked. She answered in the affirmative. Now, Mission BBQ is a restaurant, not exactly a store by my definition. And it is only about 100 feet down the sidewalk, not down the road. So, I think my confusion was warranted – especially the store part.

Often times we use the wrong names for people. This is a big dilemma at home as I have four daughters and I’m not getting any younger. It’s best just to  yell at all of them at once, because there’s a 75 percent chance I’ll call my principal target by the wrong name anyway. Mom had the same problem. Wasn’t the best idea to give us all the same initials, huh Mom? Fortunately, I know for a fact that EVERYBODY does this.

I was listening to the radio when a commercial for the sports show they broadcast came on the air. The host was talking about Virginia Tech football and how they fare better when they have an athletic, mobile QB. He talked about, “the kid from Miami, Dwayne Johnson…” and as he tried to continue his guest ripped into him about how that’s The Rock from wrestling. I can’t even remember the QB’s real name, but the guest and other people on the show just busted on the host for screwing up the name.

And the ultimate example of dumb jocks screwing up names belongs to Joe Theismann. The announcers (Joe included) were talking about a coach who was an offensive or defensive “genius.” Theismann was correct in taking issue with the use of the term genius to describe a football coach. Because a genius is a guy like, “Norman Einstein.” Perhaps that’s Albert’s alter ego. You hear, “Norman? Norman, is that you?” and in walks Albert with combed hair. We all know Albert Einstein was a genius, but perhaps Norman Einstein is one, too. You see, there really is a Norman Einstein and he went to High School with Theismann, (you can read about it here) so we can’t call Joe the dumb jock so many people accused him of being for that particular quote. After all, he said plenty of other things to prove he’s not a genius either.

I could go on and on with examples, but I’ve bored you all enough. Just, as a retail professional, I ask that you learn the name of the product you’re looking for. It’s just so hard to find the thingy that goes with the doohickey! (Or so my wife says.)

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