And I’ll have the ‘chicken’ sandwich …

Wash Hands

In my neck of the woods, putting quotation marks around words in the above fashion is often used to indicate a meaning atypical from that commonly associated with the term in question.

Given that, one wonders what meaning is intended by the recommendation that employees “wash hands”?

Is the entire staff in on a big joke in which no one actually washes their hands after using the bathroom, but, should health inspectors stop by, it’s been agreed that everyone will say they wash their hands?

Or is it more complex, in which employees go through some sort of ritual that falls short of effective hand-washing but enables them to assert they’ve made an effort?

Perhaps they use soap but no warm water?

Maybe they just run their hands under cold water?

Could it be that they simply lick their fingers on their way out the bathroom door?

Or, given that the sign says “Employee Must ‘Wash Hands'” perhaps there’s but a single designated employee who has to wash up after being in the bathroom; everyone else is exempt from this onerous regulation.

That’s both the joy and agony of bad grammar: It’s hilariously confusing. Until the dysentery epidemic breaks out, that is.

Given how this photo almost certainly came from a fast-food restaurant bathroom, I don’t know what would be more upsetting: To see this placard before one has eaten, when it can still ruin one’s appetite, or after one has dined, when it’s too late to head for another restaurant.

You know, an establishment that takes hygiene, or at least grammar, more seriously.

(HT: Kids Prefer Cheese)

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18 thoughts on “And I’ll have the ‘chicken’ sandwich …

  1. I wonder if all the staff go home each night desperate to wash their hands as it is against regulations to do it at work…

    Was there a sign behind the counter directing you to “customer service”? 😉

  2. Haha. But depressing on both accounts, grammar and hygiene. Although that will teach you for going to a FFR.

    But to be serious, the difficulty is not knowing how to emphasise words, using either bold, italics, caps or whatever. But ” ? My big gripe was always underlining for emphasis. I hated it.

    I won’t bother commenting on the single employee. There could be a use for it, but it would be a lot more words on the lines of:

    As an employee of this company you must wash your hands

    (Although why don’t you wash them anyway, comes to mind).

    And as for the ‘chicken’ sandwich, I assume that would be a nice vegetarian ‘chicken’ sandwich. That would make mild sense, as in, it’s not chicken at all.

    • Yes, I never quite got the point of underlining. We have bolding, italics and, if necessary, capital letters at our disposal; what purpose does underlining have that the others can’t accomplish? However, nothing beats someone who can employ three or four of those altogether. That’s someone who makes me want to read more.

      You’re being an optimist regarding my expectations in ‘chicken’ sandwiches. I was thinking the ‘chicken’ would come from some decidedly undesirable beast, likely caught out back by the dumpster.

      • The only reason for using underlining was when you were at school and you didn’t have much choice about emphasis, you got out your ruler and underlined your words. With the exception of HTML links it is totally redundant in the world of computers. People over-emphasise anyway. Less is more.

        It’s pretty easy really, in order, firstly italics, then bold, and then as a last resort caps (but preferably not italicised and bolded, with 20 exclamation marks afterwards).

        Almost forgot the basic, underlining makes text harder to read.

        As for the ‘chicken’, any beast is undesirable to a vegetarian 😉

      • Ah, yes, the exclamation point. I see people who can’t write a paragraph without using exclamation points – often many of them. Maddening. I once read the wise words of an English professor who said you should use exclamation points as though you only had but three of them at your disposal for your entire life. Sage advice, indeed.

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