It’s a war on poor spelling and grammar

I believe I’ve mentioned how little I think of the staff at the local YMCA here in Santa Barbara – especially in light of how amazing the people at the YMCAs in Colorado were. Lately, however, things have escalated to a quiet little mini-war between the staff and me (although I think they don’t know it yet).

You see, there was this sign in one of the rooms of the Y. It was an old stupid sign – looked like it had been there since 1960 and the word etiquette was misspelled on the sign (it read ‘Ettiquette’). I mentioned it to two people at the front desk one day and they looked at me like I had snakes growing out of my ears.

I mentioned it to another staff person with an official-looking clipboard as the team was preparing to close the entire place for one full week to paint, clean up, move things around, or whatever. I thought it would be a great time to get the stupid misspelled sign down or fixed – something! She said she wondered if it was the old English version of the spelling. It was my turn to look at someone as if they had snakes growing out of their ears.

I finally mentioned it to a lovely lady who usually teaches a yoga class that I enjoy. She was digging around in the closet in the room where the misspelled sign happened to be hanging. I pointed to it and asked her if it would be possible to repair the spelling … you know, for educational reasons. Think of the kids. She giggled and said she’d ask.

The renovation happened. I returned to the gym and low and behold there was that damn sign. They’d even painted the wall behind it and REHUNG THE DAMN THING!┬áMy writing isn’t perfect by a long shot, but when someone points out the problem, wouldn’t it be a good idea to fix it?

So, on a cold wet morning a couple of weeks ago (notice how I didn’t immediately lay claim to what I’d done here on the blog?), I took the sign down myself and I tucked it behind the desk where the staff usually surf the Internet while they ignore everyone in the room who pays their paycheck.

Then, I waited and watched.

The sign annoyed a few staff here and there when they had to move it to plug in their phones so they could charge, but otherwise the sign stayed happy and quiet behind the desk until recently it disappeared. It has not been rehung and so I’m fine with that.

This week a new frustration appeared. Signs everywhere reading … if you think I’m going to say something about pilfering the ancient signage, you’re wrong, but that would be very funny:

Machines can only be used for its intended purpose.

Yep. Read that again – out loud will help.

So, I bought a marker and yesterday I went around and fixed the grammar on all the signs. I suppose I should give them points for spelling the words correctly. One woman, who was doing a great job at her ab workout, told me ‘thank you’ and would I please fix the rest of the signs for her?

Steve saw the signs at his workout this morning, but they were gone when I went in at lunch time today.

I can’t wait to see what they do next.

fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!


  1. Betsy O'Connor
    November 16, 2012

    Well – you are or were a certified teacher in Tx. So you have a duty and a right to correct grammar.

  2. Ellen Lukasik
    November 19, 2012


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