The Nether Regions

The blog that slips an affectionate hand between the thighs of the regional media

All in a lava

with 2 comments

The nether regions, twinned with GrammarBlog, is always up for a spot of spelling and grammar pedantry. When that’s mixed with regional newspaper coverage, the pleasure is almost too much to take.

Everyone should be ideologically opposed to levels of decadence that mean a schoolboy can use a five pounds and ninety-five pence bottle of designer washing-up liquid to make a volcano for his school homework, but you’ve got to tip your hat to this 13 year-old’s impressive levels of smugness.

Warm eruptions of thanks go to Emma Crofts for this story.

Bristol Evening Post, 22 February 2010 (story):

Bristol schoolboy forced Harvey Nichols to take bottle off the shelves

A 13-year-old schoolboy has forced luxury store Harvey Nichols to change the supplier of its washing-up liquid after spotting a mistake on the bottle’s label.

George McGeown, a Year 8 student at Chew Valley School, was using the £5.95 luxury bottle of dish washing liquid to make a working volcano for his homework science project when he spotted the blunder.

On the back of the bottle, instructions tell users to ‘squirt a drop OF two’, when it should read ‘squirt a drop OR two’.

Other mistakes in the small print on the back of the bottle include a missing apostrophe, a wrongly placed comma and a rogue semicolon inserted in the middle of a sentence.

Although the article asserts that George and his mum Shirley, 51, “forced” the removal the product by pointing out these appalling errors (I’d like to think the rogue semi;colon played a particularly key role), Harvey Nichols have sidestepped the matter by claiming they were going to remove the product anyway. Plot —> thickening.

George, 13, pictured in 'BODY OF A GOD' hoodie. AHAHAHA! Hilarious! One of life's characters!

Proof that it doesn’t cost £6 to get grammar right:

Mrs McGeown told the Evening Post that she bought the bottle from the Bristol Harvey Nics store “to put on show” in her kitchen.

She said: “That bottle cost £6, and I only got it to put on show. You can get two bottles of Fairy Liquid in Morrisons for £1, and there are no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes on those bottles. Why does it need to have instructions anyway? It’s not rocket science.”

George got top marks from his teachers for his volcano model. He made it by drawing around the base of the washing up bottle to make a hole in a shoe box. A piece of cardboard was then wrapped around the bottle to create a funnel, which was put into the hole and attached. Food colouring and bicarbonate of soda was put inside the tube to mimic the lava.

Mrs McGeown said: “George was using the bottle for his project when he drew around it and noticed the mistake. He said: ‘Mum, this isn’t right. Shouldn’t it be ‘squirt a drop or two’?'”

George told the Post: “I wonder how they did in their SATS – obviously they didn’t go to Chew Valley School.” […]

Bristol sales manager Franc Ninic said in an email to Mrs McGeown: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for taking valuable time to provide feedback on grammar and spelling mistake on instruction of product (sic).”

Fantasic application of “(sic)” there; I’m sure they’ll all have had a laugh about that one in the newsroom.


Written by Paddy

May 2, 2010 at 2:18 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I hope this young boy is framed for stealing a £1 bottle of Morrisons own-label washing-up liquid. Where time in a Youth Offenders institution leads to hard drug dependency, and a viscious cycle of more theft on release, seeing him slung into an adult prison. Where a dictionary won’t protect him from old fat preying “beasts”. After their midnight attacks he sits on the edge of his prison bunk looking at his Volcano model and weeps. OR something else that will take his mind off such trival matters. Apologies for the unecessary use OF the ” ” around beasts.

    Carol Voderman

    May 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm

  2. But life’s a breeze in adult prisons these days, of course. It’s like Pontins in there; they’ve all got their colour TVs, their colour dictionaries, and their colour thesauruseseses’s’ses/thesaurii.


    May 4, 2010 at 6:18 pm

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