I Got Too Worked Up Over Some Signs In A Supermarket

Shirley Lee
7 min readJul 19, 2023

“Shirley, nobody gets this excited at the signs in a supermarket.”

“Well, not only am I going to take pictures of all of them, they are all going onto my latest blog post, and there is nothing you can do about it.”

“Shirley,” my friend continued, “have you considered getting diagnosed — ”

I didn’t hear the rest of what she said because I had run off. I was gone. Like the wind. She was no longer within earshot. I ran from sign to sign, taking picture after picture.

Sometimes it’s better to not think about why you do what you do in life.

Signs that Made Me Wanna Check the Dictionary

First of all:

A sign with Chinese that says “Concentrated and ready-to-drink juice” and English that says “Juice & Cordials”

What the hell is a cordial? If the Chinese words and the bottles of juices weren’t there, I would have thought that “cordial” is a type of bird (I later found out “cardinal” is a type of bird). I quickly looked at the entire rack for a bottle of “cordial” but there wasn’t any. What does the word actually mean?

Source. It’s not a kind of concentrated juice.

I asked my online friends (who are native speakers of English) whether this is a normal usage of the word, and ended up learning way more about it than any regular human being normally should:

  • They reminded me that I have seen the word before on RSVPs (“You are cordially invited…”). If we nerd all the way out about words (I got an A in Lexical Studies in uni), this “cordial” and that “cordial” have two completely different meanings, and can be counted as two different words.
  • The word has two different pronunciations.
  • In Australia there’s a syrup that you dilute to make a flavored drink called “Cottee’s cordial”. They are bottled up like detergent.
  • One of the online friends didn’t know that “cordial” has the meaning of “juice concentrate” and another said the word use is probably “highly regional”…

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