Has it really gotten so that our expectations regarding the use of our beloved language have fallen so low? We can see a sign stating “Guaranteed In Stock” at our local store, walk in and out of that store without the “guaranteed” product in our eager hands, and not immediately return with an incendiary device to ensure this never happens to anyone else?
Now some of you will hasten to point out that this “guarantee” will oft times state “Guaranteed In Stock… or it’s free.” Let’s take a quick look at what Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary has to say about the word guarantee: “A promise or assurance.” What this does not openly state, but strongly implies (if you are an astute a wordsmith as myself) is that this is a sacred promise. It is saying that if you decide to leave the comfort of your own home during a driving rainstorm to buy a copy of a new video game- a game that your local store has guaranteed will be in stock- it will in fact be nestled safely with the rest of the new releases and awaiting your patronage.
The greatest enemy of clear language is insincerity. ― George Orwell
Nowhere in the Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary does it say that some dickhole will smile and hand you a small piece of paper (scientifically designed to be misplaced the moment you lose eye contact with it) saying that you and the other four soaking-wet saps behind you can come back at a later date and pick up this game, long after you’ve lost the desire to actually play it, for free.
Before I continue I must let the Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary chime in on the word free: “Costing nothing.” So apparently my local video game store places no worth on my time or the costs involved with running my automobile. This on top of the disappointment I feel when I return home without the aforementioned game and instead plant myself in front of my computer terminal and watch videos of cats chasing string and rednecks hurting themselves with household objects that we typically associate with non-harmful endeavors for the rest of the evening.
The costs of this poor decision making cannot be accurately captured by the Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary.
Because without our language, we have lost ourselves. Who are we without our words? ― Melina Marchetta
My point being, “Guaranteed In Stock… or it’s free” is not a correct use of the English language. If your policy is that you will give the customer the game for free if it’s not in stock, then the correct way to communicate that to your clientele is by having a big banner outside saying that you will give the customer the game for free if it’s not in stock. Do NOT guarantee that you will have it if you know perfectly well that you only have enough copies for 20% of the people who will walk in looking for it. You are lying.
Although I’m not sure it’s needed at this point, the Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary would like to clarify what a promise is: “A pledge.” Simple. That is a promise … there is no such thing as a pledge with stipulations. When you pledge to marry someone you can’t go scooting off with the next girl you see with bigger melons because there was some fine print your formerly-blushing bride didn’t read over.
Either get enough copies for everyone or stop insulting me with empty guarantees.
The limits of my language means the limits of my world. ― Ludwig Wittgenstein
Now let’s see what the Webster’s New Riverside University Dictionary has to say about nihilism.