Saturday, November 03, 2012

Debenham's versus Abroad

Debenham’s, the archetype of don’t-frighten-the-horses retail, has revealed that 70% of its customers have difficulty with the Italian-ish names bestowed upon warm beverages and that from now on, cappuccino will be “frothy coffee”, latte will be “really, really milky coffee” and so on.

Of course, Debenham’s isn’t really responding to the linguistic befuddlement of their punters. Instead, they’re grabbing a few bytes of publicity by positioning themselves as defenders of good old English common-sense, in the face of all those noisy foreigners and their funny talk. If a fine, upstanding Englishman such as Nigel Farage ever stopped bellowing for long enough to drink a coffee, one supposes, he’d want to drink a really, really milky one, not one that probably tastes of garlic and subsidies and committing adultery in the afternoon.

But why stop with the coffee? Next time I go to Debenham’s, I don’t want to be troubled by fanciful verbiage of any variety. If I want to buy a jumper, I want it to be called a jumper, and nothing else. Well, maybe a blue jumper, or a really, really baggy jumper. And the same goes for spatulas and duvets and footstools. In fact, the very name Debenham’s is an affectation too far. They should tear down all their signage and replace it with a small sheet of paper bearing the words “A SHOP”. And have Nigel Farage on duty outside, in a Union Jack waistcoat, shouting at anyone who uses a word that ends in a vowel.


Richard said...

Big up to Debenhams I say. I haven't a bloody clue what I'm ordering whenever I go for a coffee, especially as I've probably been queueing for half an hour geting ever more confused.

As for the little Englander,I would just love the opportunity to introduce him publicly as "Nigel Farridge"

Anonymous said...

A shop - like it.
Though I don't mind the stripped down coffee names. My own preferred version is: "No, just a black coffee. That's it."