Does familiarity breed illiteracy?

My wife’s birthday is upcoming and so my fashion advisor (youngest daughter) and I went shopping yesterday. We had success in our gift purchase and a little disagreement about literacy along the way.

When it comes to buying clothes, I always stop at The Bay first for two reasons – one to see what is selling and secondly, to see if there are some pricing deals. (add cheap to my attributes) There were lots of markdowns so we took note of some potential gifts. The information about the discounts was very professionally printed and displayed, maybe from the head office or from the store itself. There was no way to tell.

From there, we hit a number of other stores. It was at a small store that I saw the sign that included this handwritten on a sheet of cardboard

Pant’s 30% off

While we weren’t in search of these things, I just had to point it out to her. What I didn’t realize while we were talking and I was getting the “Daaaad, you’re such a teacher” warning for the umpteenth time, the store manager was listening to us.

He was helpful. “Can I help you?”

Of course, the teacher in me kicked in. “It’s about the sign” and I pointed to it.

“Is there a problem? Those are pants and they are on sale.”

Now, I’m sure that he would have walked by the sign so many times and obviously didn’t notice. Or maybe he thought it was correct. Or who knows?

Eventually, we both were on the same page and had a chuckle over it. He removed the sign to fix things. I’m mindful and thankful for those who proofread this blog for me and point out errors.

As luck would have it, last night we were enjoying Kim’s Convenience, one of the very best shows on the CBC.

I’ve always been a fan of the show and totally understand why it gets nominated for so many awards. The timing of this episode was so appropriate and I enjoyed this week’s show so much. It really was us earlier that day!

But, I wonder…

Do we see misspelled words so frequently in public that, after a while, they seem to be normal? What can we do about that? Should we use a computer with spell check and not rely on our memory for spelling accuracy?

More importantly, what do you do when you see spelling errors, dear teacher? Do you point it out to someone who can change it or do you just smile and move on? I’d love to read your thoughts. Do you agree with me or my daughter?

As an aside, in the opening few minutes, there’s room for another award for Kim’s Convenience – strategic blocking so that you can still televise your show in prime time!

3 thoughts on “Does familiarity breed illiteracy?

  1. As someone that is passionate about spelling and grammar (whose favourite book is EATS, SHOOTS & LEAVES), I can totally understand and appreciate what you did. I’m not sure that I would have said something, but I might have chuckled when I saw the sign. I wonder though if correct use of apostrophes has started to go by the wayside. I see apostrophe issues all the time. Are the rules for apostrophes going to start to change? Who/what is at fault for these apostrophe issues? Maybe this issue is indicative of the fact that as much as we want to teach children critical literacy skills, there are benefits to these basic skills too. How do we balance both, and teach the skills in ways that kids remember them? I wonder if this would start to reduce these kinds of problems. Thanks for the Thursday morning thinking!


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Aviva. My personal issue in all this is that there was a time when spelling errors like this ALWAYS stood out like a sore thumb. Now, I’ve seen them so frequently, I find myself wondering if I’m wrong and that they are actually correct. Gulp. Of course, there’s their they’re but one that I see quite a bit is inconvience and I find myself pausing to check it!


  3. I used to work with a teacher who was quite rude about pointing out people’s mistakes. That turned me off correcting people when my help has not been solicited. My blogs often contain mistakes because I get in a rush to publish. I hope I catch most of the mistakes though. Autocorrect is actually to blame for quite a few mistakes. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)


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