What's In a Name?

Alexandra Heep By Alexandra Heep, 30th Sep 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

Why I think words should be applied exactly according to what they mean.

Picture this

I am a huge NASCAR fan, so as usual, I was watching the other day. No, not the race, I watch everything that goes with it - practice, qualifying, etc - because that is when you get the scoop on everyone and what is going on behind the scenes. Also, you get to see interviews of your favorite drivers who otherwise get ignored if they are not running top 10, or if their name isn't Dale Earnhardt Jr.

During one segment, they were interviewing one of my favorite drivers in the Nationwide Series, Trevor Bayne. Now, if you have any knowledge of NASCAR at all you know that drivers have very prominent sponsors displayed on their race cars. No sponsors - no racing. Trevor Bayne's sponsor happens to me OUT! Pet Care, which is exactly how it appears on the hood of his car. Well, with colors and designs and all that but of course I can't duplicate that here.

I like cats, and cats are pets, so I went online and checked out the website. That is when I found out that OUT! has products like dog training pads and other items that are advertised to remove dog stains and odors. Well, they call it "pet" stains but the whole website is all about dogs, with pictures of dogs. I know that dogs are pets, but other animals are pets too. I went to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and this is the definition of pet: "a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility."

Are dogs the only pets out there?

Do only dogs cause pet stains? During my adult life, I have had plenty of animal species kept for purposes other than utility so in my mind that makes them all pets. I can safely say from experience they all cause "pet" stains. Ever tried cleaning up after a ferret? Or a snake when it does its business? This is what I was thinking about during the commercials. I may sound like an anal retentive nerd, but if it is okay to think about beer, sex, women, shopping, chores etc (depending on your gender) during commercials, I think it is quite alright for me to think about language.

As someone whose native language is not English, I rely on literal translations of words to make sure I use the correct ones. Or, as an ex-boyfriend once said to me: "Must you be so bloody literal?" So, where anyone else probably would lay this matter to rest, my mind went back to another "pet-related" incident years ago. My (at the time) eight year old daughter kept seeing Pet Smart commercials saying you could bring your "pets" to the store. She had a cat and I am sure you can see where this is going. Yes, I was the idiot who listened to my daughter's wish and brought her cat inside the Pet Smart to take it shopping. Needless to say the cat was not at all happy with all the dogs in the store, but that is another blog.

Why this obsession over one product and name?

If you have any friends at all who are into NASCAR you know that a lot of us will buy certain products to support their favorite drivers - and stay away from others. I know of several guys who will pass up a Lowe's and drive farther to a Home Depot. Not because they like Joey Logano (whose sponsor is Home Depot), but because they do not like Jimmie Johnson (whose sponsor is Lowe's). Of course this works the other way around as well.

Do not create assumptions

Also, it goes deeper than that. I am a person who does not like assumptions. If you see the word "pet" somewhere, people should not have to assume it is for dogs exclusively. If you are selling dog products, call them dog products. I could discuss this concept further when applied to targeting people in mass advertising, but my domesticated animal that I keep for pleasure wants her dinner.


Cat, Cats, Dog, Dogs, Nascar, Out, Pet, Pet Care, Pets, Racing

Meet the author

author avatar Alexandra Heep
I am a freelancer and I can write about any subject. I have a professional background in administration, real estate, marketing, and mortgage post-closing. Other areas of expertise include health and beauty as well as spirituality and self help iss...(more)

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author avatar LOVERME
2nd Oct 2010 (#)

each Name has a vibration phonetic
each alphabet has been assigned a particular value and the sum total of the points added up
create a frequency for you and only you
then you know someone is calling you a
nd thats whats in a name

the frequency is like a cell number allotted to one if u want more information please do ask me
sound vibrations
through the ears transform into electric vibrations
which the electronic brain captures
and u hear your name

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author avatar Denise O
7th Oct 2010 (#)

We have had many of pets over the years in my home but, never a cat.
But, do not get me wrong,
I feel they deserve just as much rights as a dog, a snake, a turtle or even a gold fish.
A pet, is a pet, is a pet.
Thanks for sharing.:)

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author avatar LOVERME
18th Oct 2010 (#)

comments must be answered so as to let
the commentator know
he's being heard

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author avatar Alexandra Heep
22nd Oct 2010 (#)

I am a little confused ... yes I read every comment but do not comment back as I did not think people go back to threads they commented on. My apologies

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author avatar Tranquilpen
21st Feb 2011 (#)

Thank you Alexandra, From another someone who is not a native to the English language, I find your article very compelling, to say the least. "What's In a Name ?" Indeed! One of my "pet gripes" is when we casually refer to children as "kids", Goat offspring!, as adorable as they are, these baby goats can be most destructive by nature, ask any farmer. Ever notice how children with pet names like, "little terror", tyrant,rascal etc. actually end up being exactly that. Thanks once again.

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author avatar Alexandra Heep
21st Feb 2011 (#)

I am guilty of using "kids" as well instead of children, thank you for pointing this out!

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author avatar Karman's Kreations
14th May 2012 (#)

Your article made me smile. English is my native language but I have some of the same issues. If it is a PET store it should encompass all pets. I am a dog rescuer by heart.

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