Sunday, March 8, 2009

Taco Bell Grammar

The grammar of my recent Taco Bell receipt is remarkably interesting. Here's my faithful transcription of the actual receipt pictured above:

THANK'S FOR CHOOSING TACO BELL 3009
HAVE YOU WON YOUR $ 1000 YET ?
IF YOU DON'T PLEASE ASK A CASHIER
HOW YOU CAN . . .
WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS
PLEASE LET US KNOW HOW WE DID IT
CALL US AT ( 510 ) 844-0764
OR CALL THE MANAGER.

Linguistically, there are some obviously interesting and not so obviously interesting features of this receipt.

1. They used an apostrophe for "thanks"
2. An unnecessary space between "$" and "1000"
3. An unnecessary space between "yet" and the question mark
4. Incorrect verb choice in the conditional clause ("do" instead of "have")
5. Extraneous pronoun "it" at the end of a clause
6. Unnecessary spaces after and before "(" and ")"

(1) is a common typo/error/misunderstanding. (2), (3), and (6) seem to be some spacing convention of the receipt format, but the convention is unpredictable because the "$", "?", "...", "(" and ")" all follow it, but the " ' ", "-", and "." do not (a tokenizer could be built to account for this fairly easily because the only thing that hinges on this is correctly identifying 1000 as a dollar amount and the "510" as an area code). (4) and (5) seem to be legitimate grammar errors.

My guess is that each Taco Bell can personalize the message and the local manager either made the mistake or failed to identify and correct the mistake.

Finally, and perhaps most compelling of all, at the bottom, they got the Bagging Summary wrong. There were three items, not two.

3 comments:

cko said...

you eat at taco bell?

Chris said...

I will tolerate no criticism of my obsession with Taco bell. None!

Chris said...

Ah Hah!! Taco Bell just received a B+ and ranked 7th amongst the healthiest fast food joints (I eat the unhealthy stuff, of course, gawd I love the cheesy fiesta potatoes!).

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