Sleuthing abroad last week I snapped a POS board inviting me to “Enjoy 20% Off” an entire store. Feeling jet-lagged and thus pedantic, I decided against gamboling among the racks. Anyway, it was hardly a sale to write home about, so I moved on.
Back in Blighty, waiting for Monday’s junior judo class to end, I resorted to the local Schools Advertiser. A residual impression was repeatedly triggered. Initially it was a note from the editor: “Hope you enjoy this Easter term edition.”
Enjoy would be a reasonable enough sentiment if it weren’t for the mind-numbing content; however, at least it was employed in a valid context.
But then it cropped up twice again, firstly the Advertiser promoting itself (“Those who place free classified ads enjoy a tremendous response”) and secondly a dodgy ad for someone’s holiday home (“The Haven is uniquely positioned on the beach and enjoys uninterrupted sea views”).
Now, I once worked with a client who detested my use of expressions like “Simply complete the freepost reply card” – simply being the offensive word in this case. (She insisted that simply meant ‘stupidly’, whereas to me it’s neat shorthand for ‘do nothing more difficult than’.)
Enjoy, though. I’m not so keen. Sure – technically – it can mean ‘benefit from’, but today it’s a word so corrupted by estate agents and so overused by marketers to symbolize the worst of all clichés-cum-platitudes-cum-hyperbole.
Enjoy is one of those words of Old French origin that copywriters are warned about. “Enjoy 20% Off.” I mean, for Pierre’s sake, what’s wrong with good old Anglo-Saxon ‘Get’?