Weekly Photo Challenge: A Bargain

Waitrose shelf label for pies

Regular readers may remember that I’m English. I spell aluminium all wrong the British way. We don’t get turkey in November over here, or the other traditional comfort foods of the American season that I’ve grown to love, like sweet potato casserole.

No, no, it’s OK. Don’t feel you have to sympathise. We’re British. We’re used to our food being rubbish and our beer hot.

I suppose you might say this ‘tender and succulent’ chicken pie is the British version of a Thanksgiving turkey and Waitrose’s save 50p offer the British equivalent of Black Friday. 

I don’t really want to do anything other than sigh at Britain’s poshest supermarket’s spurious apostrophe – but if you twist my arm, this is solid evidence to support my controversial view that apostrophes of possession should be dropped because (1) so many people get them wrong (2) they irritate the people who don’t and (3) there’s never any real ambiguity without them.

One thing that does puzzle me is why these chicken pies are advertised as hot when they’re refrigerated. I’m a pie watcher, but I’ve never seen cold hot pies before. It’s not exactly one for the Advertising Standards Authority, but…

I’m off in search of vicarious pleasure from the other entries for this week’s photo challenge: It’s Not This Time Of Year Without…

P.S. I was only joking about our food. It’s fine, honestly.

39 Replies to “Weekly Photo Challenge: A Bargain”

      1. Have you seen the movie Michael? My favorite scene is where they order one slice of every kind of pie and pass them around the table taking bites. Then the woman, who is an amateur songwriter, gets up with the band and sings a song she wrote about how much she loves pie. It is just charming, as is the entire movie. You must see it. John Travolta and Andy McDowell and Jean Stapleton.

  1. I think you’d have a job getting the apostrophe of possession abolished. Most people would probably continue in their own sweet way, right or wrong. And we Grammar Nazis seem something to rail against.

      1. I don’t think it’s going to be around for too long. I was taught that grammar rules are descriptive not proscriptive and the tide is clear to see. We should bite the bullet now and sacrifice the socially divisive and not wildly useful apostrophe of possession for the apostrophe of omission which is less contentious and quite handy.

    1. I’m a massive fan of one of Cracker Barrel’s mid-week specials – the chicken pot pie. It’s on my to-do list any time I’m in the US, other than that I don’t fancy having lunch at 11.30. I’m distraught if I get there at 11.55 to find they’ve already sold out.

      It’s my idea of pie heaven.

    1. You two are wearing the cloaks of anonymity for this one, so I’m not sure which of you has confessed to overindulging on pie… not that they’d get any reproaches from me.

  2. Never any ambiguity? The readers comprehension of the intended meaning was uncertain. In fact, none of them grasped it immediately, some turning to the editors notes for help. The problem was twofold: one of numbers and attribution

    1. I did have to read the sentence ‘The readers…’ twice, but that’s not just about the missing apostrophe. It could be recast as: ‘It wasn’t clear that the readers had understood’. Also if I wasn’t primed to anticipate an apostrophe in that situation, it might be easier to read. That’s hard to tell. But ‘editors notes’ is easy enough.

      We manage to navigate ‘its’, which doesn’t have an apostrophe of possession (‘Susan’s button fell off’, but ‘its button fell off’). That fools most spellchecks in my experience. And when we speak, we understand without punctuation at all unless someone helps us out with air quotes. Now that might be fun – if we had to punctuate with air gestures for full stops, commas – everything. If we got excited it could be like having a mini-workout.

    1. I skipped last week’s and was tempted to skip this one too, but then I remembered taking this. I saw a similar sign in another store saying ‘Save up to £1’ on a camera that I was sorely tempted to photograph, but I had just set off a loud and lengthy alarm system off by half-closing a lid on a Macbook and didn’t want to be frog-marched from the store.

    1. The rules are more complicated than we might think if we’ve managed to internalise them. Just try explaining all cases to someone who hasn’t. A good number of unsure people clearly suffer from pangs of apostrophe anxiety and slip them in when the word ends in ‘s’ to try to appease those of us who require them.

      1. Yes, I think you are right. I recently explained to a well-educated young woman why “it’s” wasn’t the possessive and she said it was the first time she’d ever understood it. Quite pleased with myself. I also explained to the same person how our d’Hondt voting system worked and I am now considered quite the guru 😉

  3. You just need “Apostrophe Man”, Susan – he’ll come over and sort ’em out 😉
    BTW don’t weaken – make sure keep the “h” on your verandah, and the “u” in colour, as we rough colonials in the Antipodes attempt to do. 🙃

    1. I was surprised to find out that computer languages use ‘color’ and am having to get used to that. I shouldn’t have been, of course. It was a bit like the shock of finding a random assortment of British food in the foreign food aisle in Mississippi.

      1. If you go into the computer settings, and choose Language “English – UK”, all will be well, Susan. Even “English – Australia” is better than the default US 😜

        1. I didn’t explain myself very well. It’s for HTML and CSS and I don’t think you can use UK English settings for those. But thanks for your kindness – I’ll double check!

  4. Such a simple little blob of ink, and such complications! I take all apostrophes personally because my last name is O’Hern, and people ask me if there’s a comma in it. I try to be nice but I think I sound rabid. APOSTROPHE! NOT COMMA! And all computers hate my last name because of the apostrophe. When I see all these extra apostrophes floating around (e.g., “pie’s”), I want to grab them and send them to the computers that don’t have any for my name. “The Spurious Apostrophe” is a lovely toothsome phrase. And what a title it would make!

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