Monday, May 08, 2006

Two words for every brand

Forgive my usual stupid pun in the title (a free photo for the first person who knows the reference)

So since last year have you been noticing that much of the consumer goods you get the store have things written in two languages? Considering that we're in California, one would expect the two languages to be English & Spanish. Afterall, the vast majority of the population speaks one of those two languages fluently.

But as you've probably figured out, the second language we see is not Spanish, but French.

Why French? Because the Quebecois are uppity like that. Now, don't go thinking I'm a French hater. I actually took 4+ years of French classes and I think the French bring a lot to the cultural table (if nothing else). But despite all they bring to the table in terms of cuisine, culture, and art, the French seem to have this inferiority complex when it comes to the English language and especially Americans. Quebecois seem to have this same issue.

And thus you get the French Language Charter, which, among other things, requires that all consumer products to be labelled in French to the same degree that they are in English (or any other language I suppose). If you're in Quebec and love you some French, this seems fine, but when you're in the one of the most highly Hispanic regions of the United States? Useless. Even worse, it takes away from the table.

While English is the main language in this country and I think every person in the US should have working knowledge of the language, let's admit that not everyone knows English. While there certainly is no reason to require any language on any package, if there were to be additional languages on packaging, it should be Spanish. No questions.

But here we are with this stupid French-Canadian law that forces me to read French every time I go to buy household items.

Why? Because the people who make my air freshner make the same stuff for our northern neighbors and it's simpler for them to have a single package for the entire market. No sense in creating totally separate packaging for a mere 7 million people so they just make a single package. And so 300 million Americans get to read French on a daily basis.

Anyways, I've been thinking about posting about this forever, but I finally did it because I saw the new air freshner my wife picked up yesterday. Lo and French! In fact, Glade was smart enough to put Spanish on the packaging in addition to English. I'm sure the millions of Spanish speaking people in this state and others will appreciate a major brand recognizing and tailoring their products to them.

Fuck the Quebecois, dude. I'd much rather deal with a little Spanish on my household items because it serves this community in a much more significant way.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A lot of the stuff you buy at Body Shop has labels written in both English and French -- I never really understood why, until now.