The price of tea in China: Name-brand spellings erode nation's literacy

On an idle Monday afternoon not too long ago, fine human being Alex Snyder and I were enjoying a peaceful lunch in LaFollette Square when our eyes caught the type of marketing error that contributes daily to the declining mentality of America's youth.

On the front of a bag of Seyfert's brand potato chips, the word "curlie" is printed proudly in bold white letters for the world to see.

Naturally, we were outraged. Millions of children see this alleged "word" every day and probably mistake Seyfert's attempt to be cute as truth. One day one of those children, probably yours, will be CEO of a major corporation, will type "curlie" in an important business memo, and will be given many undesirable nicknames by his or her subordinates ("Hey, Curlie! Ha ha!"). He or she will spend hours in therapy wherein he or she will learn he or she is the most miserable wretch on the planet and it is all your fault.

Seyfert Foods, Inc., will skip merrily into the sunset, completely free of any blame from this incident, while you and your spouse spend your golden years in Southern Bubba's Nursing Home and Cotton Plantation.

In light of this subtle foreshadowing of our dismal future, Alex and I wrote a letter to Seyfert Foods, Inc., explaining that the typo on their bags has the potential to embarrass their company as well as ruin the lives of everyone their product reaches. We look forward to their prompt response.

I do not know the reason why companies the world over purposely misspell words, but I reckon it is due in large part to their being chronically insane. This is why we constantly see businesses named Karl's Krazy Kars and products like Icee and Froot Loops.

Every time I see this obvious lack of basic skills that suggests these marketing departments have the intellectual depth of Cheez It brand crackers, I sincerely wonder about the mental stability of this planet and am no longer surprised when I hear there are people out there who routinely specify their "drive-thru" orders are "to go."

I've noticed, too, that some businesses have issues with punctuation, namely the apostrophe. If my elementary-school education serves me correctly, apostrophes serve a specific function and purpose and are not meant to be flung to and fro like literary confetti.

There is a certain restaurant, let's call it, for the sake of creativity, "Shake 'n Steak." "Shake 'n Steak," as you can plainly see, omits both an "a" and a "d" and uses only one apostrophe. This could be misinterpreted because, grammatically speaking, it appears as if it is intending to call itself "Shake in Steak" or "Shake on Steak" which, to say the very least, would not exactly tickle my fancy in the culinary sense. Perhaps you, personally, do not share my views on this subject matter. Well, you, personally, are wrong.

As one can see, this is an issue of grave importance to the very future of our great nation. I encourage you, as a concerned and active citizen, to write to your semi-literate business of choice and inform it of its obvious folly. If you choose not to heed my warning, then by all means skip merrily into the sunset with Seyfert Foods, Inc.

Alex and I will be sure to write to you while you are in Southern Bubba's.

Write to Aleshia at


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