|Why Asda do not sell many textbooks
This letter was never sent. I have also edited it from the original to avoid embarrassment.
I contacted Asda by telephone over this issue and, after being treated like an annoyance by the person in their signage department (who clearly didn't like the sound of my voice) I was put through to someone who listened to my comments and passed them on. In fact, I was sent a letter of apology by Asda. Unfortunately, the letter contained typographic errors, which put a thick veneer of irony over the whole thing.
Even today I still point out similar errors at Asda. Sadly, nobody seems to care except me.
It is rare that I feel compelled to write to a supermarket on the subject of grammar; I do not believe that I could be considered an expert in the subject. However, since I have noticed two errors made by your company, since they fall into one of the most simple and yet most often perverted avenues of our language, and since this particular mistake is my pet hate, I hope you will indulge me.
I recently bought a packet of Turkey Kievs - by that I mean 2 of an entity called a Turkey Kiev. Imagine my surprise when I found that the packet was labelled Turkey Kiev's. Someone has made a howling error, one which people are more and more likely to make as our education system declines and large companies (such as yours) stop bothering to care about accuracy. My turkey does not belong to Kiev and, unless Kiev is an abbreviation of a longer word (I dread to think what), the apostrophe does not indicate a series of missed letters.
Walking through your desserts section, I noticed a sign offering the desserts for children - Childrens' it said. Now, this is an example of someone trying to be too clever. Apostrophes go on the end of words in the plural, thought the maker of the sign. Of course, this is rubbish; my request to have the sign changed (made at the Asda, Gosforth store) was disregarded. Be warned, I do expect it to be changed in all your stores - I have a habit of taking direct action otherwise (with a marker pen).
I hope that you will correct the errors I have reported and any other which I have not yet discovered. On the positive side, I found the Turkey Kiev's to be very enjoyable and I'm sure that your desserts for children are worthy of praise (though I've not been a child for a while).
Here I included a guide to the use of the apostrophe, which I asked them to circulate!!!
Thank you for your attention, I look forward never to seeing Kiev's on sale again!
Written: 31 December 1998
Posted: 18 November 2000