October 21, 2010

For shame, Starbucks marketing department

This morning, I noticed this fine little slogan on my Starbucks napkin:

Disclaimer: I'm certain I'm not the only one who's noticed this (I've had this particular napkin in my desk drawer for at least two months, for starters), but I just noticed it now, so I'm commenting on it now, so there.


"Less napkins"? Erm, no.

"Less waste," sure. "Less water," absolutely. "Less apples"? No.

FEWER. Fewer apples, fewer napkins, fewer grammarians bleeding from the eyeballs.

I realize the phrase is "less is more," which may make it seem like "less" is always the opposite of "more," and I also realize this is an extremely common mistake for English-speakers.

But if your job involves putting words on things for public consumption, be it articles or marketing copy or the warning on the side of a bottle of Drano, you should know the rules. And if you don't, you should make damn sure you run your copy by someone who does.

I write for a living, so I have to make it a point to try to learn and KNOW these rules. Do I know them all? Uh, absolutely not. But I use the resources at my disposal (fellow writers and editors, stylebooks, the ENTIRE INTERNET) to check myself lest I wreck myself (I physically could not stop myself from writing that).

And if something of mine is published with a mistake like this, particularly as it relates to my job (as opposed to, say, this blog; heh), I consider that a big, fat fail on my part as a writer/marketer/communicator.

All this to say: HAND-SLAP, Starbucks marketing department! Shame, shame, I know your name.*

*Please tell me you also said this as a child. Along with "Liar, liar, pants on fire, sitting on a telephone wire." Holy crap, kids' rhymes make absolutely no sense.

6 backtalk:

Wendy said...

Haaaa! Love it. These types of things make my blood boil too.

wrestling kitties said...

"to check myself lest I wreck myself" HAHAHAHA!

I literally laughed out loud at my desk! AWESOME. I LOVE that phrase!

Hold on....still laughing!!!!

(Inhale & wipe tears from eyes.)

I know shit about grammar, but I truly appreciate & admire those people who use grammar properly - unlike myself! :) I through...I mean throw commas, periods, words where ever I like. I try, but I do not get it.

To me I didn't know that was a mistake, though I got that it didn't sound right. But I totally agree, if your job involves using the written word in public then you better make sure it is write...I mean right!!

I truly admire alls you who use grammar properly! Their....I mean there need to be more peoples likes you! ;)

P.S. If it is this bad now with people not getting stuff right or making up their own rules with grammar and spelling can you even IMAGINE what it will be like when the kids today get in those kind of jobs?!?! the napkin will just say ( -nkns +plnts +pln8s ) *shiver*

Iris Took said...

Starbucks is the snobby neighbor I want to slap but secretly want to be like because they are so cool.

I am annoyed by them and their corporate funny business, but their coffee is so delicious, I find it almost impossible to resist sometimes.

Iris Took said...

You will appreciate this -

I received a card and the return envelope said:

The Smith's


How do people not know how to do this. He is an attorney!

Ky • twopretzels.com said...

"to check myself lest I wreck myself"

I cannot tell you how that single line made me want to jump through my computer and hug you.

Miss you friend.

Sarah W said...

You would think SOMEONE at the massive company that is Starbucks would know the difference between "less" and "fewer"... *cringe*

Jenn - I think your translating is actually kind of brilliant. You should propose it to Starbucks.

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