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Friday, July 25, 2008

"Excuse me ...

but do you have shoehorns in the pharmacy?"

Well, that's a new one, I have to admit. No one has ever even mentioned the word "shoehorn" in a sentence before, that I can remember.

I may very well have identified a new disease: Pharmaceutical shopagnocis, a psychological ailment characterized by the metonymies of the department store (metonymy, you will recall from your eighth grade grammar lessons, is (from Webster's Collegiate Online)

a figure of speech consisting of the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated (as “crown” in “lands belonging to the crown”).

What I think happens is that someone walks into the department store, happens on the pharmacy and remembering the last time they were in say, Rite Aid or Walgreens or CVS, they still think that everything in those stores is contained in our little section of a much larger store. Thus the shoehorn (which a normal, well-adjusted person might think is hanging on some shelf in a shoe department). The food section then moves within their minds into the pharmacy. So too, the Health and Beauty, the electronics, the--dare I postulate--the ladies' undergarments. ("Where are the stockings?" the unmedicated sick person asks).

This is why my little pharmacy becomes the catch-all of the store, from the service desk ("Can you tell me where the pet foods are?") to the, ahem, unmentionables.

Do we have shoehorn's in the pharmacy? Ma'am, please! What full-service drug store has not shoehorns within its confines? Do you think us backwoods? Right over by the sports cremes, and next to the brassieres.

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