by Borderstan.com January 21, 2010 at 6:00 am 1,840 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.

  • GD

    Shouldn’t it read: Ye Foode Shoppe? Because THAT would make me want to shoppe there.

  • Considering what they’re selling in there, let’s debate their use of the word “food.”

  • Actually, I think it should read “Ye Olde Foode Shoppe” and I think they should sell only food items that were available during the Elizabethan era. In fact, that appears to be the approximate age of a significant amount of their merchandise.

  • Avi

    Ahhh…”Shoppe.” It just takes me back to those sepia-toned memories of yesteryear, where Mom still made pot roast and pie every day for dinner, kids played stick-ball in the street out front, and Dad rode the train to/from work, and kittens danced on rainbows, and all problems were resolved at the end of a 30 minute episode? You know…the good old days that we are constantly being “sold” actually existed.

  • Missy

    I fear that the vapid use of Middle English spelling reflects not a collective cultural wish to appear more “cultured” but puerile marketing ploy to make consumers feel better about the low quality crap that is available to buy at the shoppes.

  • ccbean

    Thou hast a pointe.

  • Thomas Paine

    is that the former Apothecary site?
    do they still sell leeches?

  • UStDenizen

    It just makes CVS look dated, like they had ye olde signs in stock that they thought they’d use up before ordering new ones.

  • E-Rich

    Near where I grew up there was a shopping mall. It was like every other mall, but because it was on the rich people side of town, they called it the Kenwood “Towne Centre.”

    I hate that place and anyone who frequents it.

  • ccbean

    Aaaargh! It’s happening in Illinois also. Get thee to a Nunnery!


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