Why?

by Borderstan.com January 21, 2010 at 6:00 am 2,002 11 Comments

Borderstan Cleveland Park

Why? The use of Middle English in this “Food Shoppe” sign at the CVS in Cleveland Park is designed to… do what exactly?

In our series of occasional Why postings, we bring you the “Food Shoppe” at the CVS on Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park. We happened upon this commercial and language abuse on a recent Saturday.

The issue here, of course, is the CVS use of “shoppe” instead of “shop” to name its food section.

The use of Middle English spellings for modern usage is an American affliction, one we see regularly. (Although if my memory serves me, it used to be worse, especially in the 1970s.) Does one see this in other English speaking countries… Canada, Australia, New Zealand? I don’t know. Readers?

My guess is the use of words such as shoppe, olde, ye and so on reflects our collective cultural wish to appear “European” and “sophisticated” and “cultured.” More olde world.

The effect is, as always, exactly the opposite. So, I ask, “Why? Why would CVS do such a thing?” This is the convenience food section inside a large chain pharmacy–not a quaint food shop in a medieval town. The result is the opposite of the intention.

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