Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Five Items or Less

The supermarket sign proclaims: Five Items or Less,
And now, you are in a state of advanced distress
At having your intellectual prowess

So unexpectedly abused.
Five Items or Less?! You couldn’t be less amused,
Or, so it apparently transpires, more confused.

“Five Items or Less?!” You splutter!
And mutter!
And rage! And fume! And furiously stutter!

Before you pretend to be reasonable and calm
And, all percipience and smarm,
Assume an air of superficial scholarly charm.

“All I really care about,” you wheedle, unconvincingly, “is being 
   linguistically precise.
Not that I’m held to ransom by every grammatical vice,
But… Five Items or Less? Well, you must admit: it doesn’t sound 
   very nice.

Five Items or Less?!  I don’t really mind, but, I fear,
It leaves the other shoppers confused because the meaning is unclear.
And as for being grammatically correct, well, it’s not even near!”

Five Items or Less?! What could it possibly mean?
That supermarket sign-writers are syntactically obscene?
That they’re educationally sub-normal? Or semantically unclean?”

No, dear reader. We all know that this ill-directed animosity
Is nothing more than dim-witted grandiosity,
Another dreary example of pseudo-intellectual pretentiousness 
   and pomposity.

So, next time you see a poncy pedant-cum-inaccurate-sign-writer 
Please let them know: Five Items or Less?! simply means 
   Five Items or Fewer.

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