Pushing more impressive-sounding names

Everyone wants to feel good about themselves, and marketers want people to feel good about their products. So it’s understandable that people will tend to present things in the most impressive and positive way possible. At some point, though, this can get too much, and too annoying.

When you want to get someone to cut your hair, you go to a barber, right? Well, wrong. Has anyone even seen a barber shop in the last few years? We have hair stylists and hairdressers, and go to them in the hair salon. Sounds much more impressive. Also longer, heavier, and (for most of them) somewhat ridiculous.

Some people have gardeners who come over occasionally to take care of their gardens, right? Wrong again. These guys are now landscape engineers, landscape artists, or landscape designers. Sounds very important, for someone who often just maws the lawn, pulls out weeds, and trims the roses, doesn’t it?

When a pipe leaks at your house, do you still call a plumber, or are you already surrounded by various sanitation engineers ?

There are plenty of occupations that get the same treatment, and the amount is growing. Someone feels that the label for their work is not prestigious enough, not impressive enough, doesn’t make them feel as important as they think they are, so instead of just getting over it they decide to do something and reinvent themselves. Except not really. Because reinventing yourself involves changing what you do, but here they just change how they call what they’re already doing.

In the case of occupations, this is somewhat aggravated by the fact that sometimes those fancy sounding names are actually used for something. As in something else, a different profession, implying a different skill-set or training. Doesn’t stop anyone, though.

And it’s not only occupations. It’s spreading to other fields, sometimes to an absurd level.

For example, ingredients. Take a look at the ingredient list on a shampoo bottle, or shower gel. These things contain a large percentage of water. Except that you won’t find water listed anywhere. It sounds mundane. Cheap. It comes out of the tap, after all, so why would anyone pay for a concoction that includes it? No, instead all these bottles proudly list aqua as the main ingredient. It sounds much more dignified. Even if it’s just the Latin term for… water.

OK, rant over. Maybe I’ll go see if there’s anything interesting on TV[1]. Oh, sorry, I meant on the Home Entertainment Centre.

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  1. Well, not really. I already know there isn’t, so why waste my time?[back]

3 Responses to “Pushing more impressive-sounding names”

  1. Candace says:

    Too funny. Being only 5′ 3" myself, I often refer to myself in the politically correct manner of "vertically challenged".
    And then there’s the way some dentists refer to themselves, as a smile art gallery pro.
    Could certainly add a few more here. Thanks for the chuckle.

  2. Post author comments:

    Thanks for the dentist version, that one I didn’t hear before. But yes, there are plenty of other examples.

    I think that this is different from the whole “politically correct” thing.
    With PC, the purpose is to replace a term that is considered (though in many cases isn’t really) bad, denigrating, or otherwise offensive, with one that doesn’t carry the perceived negative undertones.
    In these cases, though, the replaced term is fine. At least to begin with, it’s not considered bad in any way, it’s just something that isn’t considered good, or impressive, enough for those using it.
    In both cases the attempt is to replace with a term that is expected to be somehow better, but there’s a large difference in the starting position, and so in the intent.

  3. Shower enclosure says:

    really good read

    thanks

    jen xx

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