Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Truth in Advertising

When it comes to advertising, words do not always mean what you think they do.  Forgive me if I've ranted about this before, but linguistic manipulation is a pet peeve of mine.  What got me upset this time?  Here's the front of a coupon attached to a Babies'R'Us circular:
Note the words here-- ANY (capitalized and bold) one regular-priced baby item.  This sounds great.  Then you look at the back:

Just look at that long list of exclusions.  Foremost?  Excludes ALL (caplitalized and bold) toys.  Did the people who made this coupon misunderstand the meaning of 'all'?  You know, "the whole of (used in referring to quantity, extent, or duration): all the cake; all the way; all year."  

Their first use of 'all' is clearly not correct.  They don't mean everything, after all, only some of the things.  Can I apply that to the same 'all' they put on the back?  Can I pick what I want to exclude from their exclusion policy?

This happens a lot with 'free', too.  Buy X and get Y free.  Except Y isn't free--didn't I have to buy X to get it?  Free:  "costing nothing; provided without charge: free entertainment."  If I pay you money, it isn't free.  It may be a bonus or an extra but not free.

Maybe I should send advertisers a free* dictionary including ALL** of the English language.

*Requires purchase of one item from my Etsy shop.
**Some words may be excluded at my discretion.  You won't know if they're the ones you need until you are searching through said dictionary.  Sorry.


  1. Thx for joining my WW last week. I am a GFC follower. I hope you join me again at My 2 Cents