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November 11, 2010 / Lauren

A rose by any other name.

I am obsessed with names.

Names of humans, businesses, towns, job titles, pets, you name it.  (Heh.)  I think the spelling, sound, and general tone of a name is very important, which is why I’m so baffled at some business names I’ve taken note of lately:

1) Dress Barn


This name seems benign enough at first, but it’s underlying tone is offensive.  I feel like they are saying to me, “You are so large that we had to build a barn to store your possible wardrobe.  A normal store couldn’t contain the acres and acres of polycotton blend necessary to clothe you, so we erected this enormous shed in a remote corn field.  Also, everything smells like manure in here.”

2) Supper Thyme USA


I met a nice girl named Carly in a sculpture class in college.  We often chatted away as we chipped, shaped, and sanded away at blocks of gypsum plaster in the studio.  One day I asked Carly where she worked.  She immediately started giggling.  “It’s such a dumb name, you’re not going to believe it- it’s called Supper Thyme USA, and they spell time as t-h-y-m-e, like the herb.”  First of all, hearing this ridiculous name didn’t give me the slightest clue as to what this company actually does.  Secondly, every word is crazy.  Who says supper?  It is 2010.  We say dinner these days.  I’ll concede that the thyme pun is a little bit awesome, and adding USA to the end of anything automatically makes it a joke.  At least I can’t forget this ridiculous small business name.  I suppose they win on that count.

3) Kupcakz/Kwik Kopy/anything with a ‘K’ where there should be a ‘C’ or a ‘Z’ where there ought to be an ‘S’


This is a major pet peeve of mine.  Spelling things wrong is not kute.  It’s not kreative.  It’s not katchy. It only makes me hate you and think you may be a klan member.  I have heard that the baked goods at Kupcakz bakery in Tulsa are really yummy, but I won’t go there because of the name.  Who named this place?  These are the same kind of people who think naming a child Brytknie (pronounced Brittany) is okay.  IT IS NOT OKAY.

What’s in a name?  Everything.  Hearing a name is the public’s first opportunity to make a judgement call about a company.  This reminds me of Arrested Development.  Did you watch that show?  I loved it.  My pal Katie introduced me to it’s hilarious glory in college.  My favorite character was Tobias, the nevernude.  Tobias took the liberty of naming his profession.

“I was a professional twice over- an analyst and a therapist.  The world’s first analrapist.” -Tobias Funke

Have an example of terrible business nomenclature?  Comment below.  I’d love to hear it.

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15 Comments

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  1. Elisabeth / Nov 11 2010 9:59 am

    Along with “K” theme. I can’t stand Kum & Go. Anytime I pass one in Tulsa I always snicker…who thought that company name was okay?

    • Lauren / Nov 11 2010 10:47 am

      Oh, that one is the absolute worst. I was going to include it, but I was too embarrassed.

  2. Jared N / Nov 11 2010 10:01 am

    This isn’t exactly the same but, remember Hancock Fabrics in Edmond? Seems harmless enough until the lights in the “Han” part of the sign decide to burn out. Then it becomes either offensive or hilarious. I know, I took a picture. Also from Edmond if you remember… Wahaha. Sigh. That was the name… no sign dysfunction there. Just dysfunction.

    • Lauren / Nov 11 2010 10:57 am

      Why would Hancock wire the signage that way? Don’t they anticipate that kind of foolishness? They should have set the sign up to where it was HANC-OCK or something. Wahaha is still my favorite Chinese food ever, mostly because I enjoy saying/laughing it. Also, remember Wiggee’s? With the Christburgers? Oh, man. More dysfunction.

  3. K Bone 17 / Nov 11 2010 11:13 am

    How about Woowee Shoes? It also has a black woman with huge assets painted next to it, and I assume when you buy a pair of shoes from them you get the “Woooooweeee, you just got a deal!” chirped at you during checkout. Besides people trying too hard to be clever you’ll find gems in Oklahoma City named things like “Books” for a (you guessed it!) book store. No thought whatsoever, which is also a pet peeve of mine.

    By the by, your blog makes me laugh out loud at work and I love you dearly for it!

  4. Heath / Nov 11 2010 11:30 am

    Hahahaha. I missed that part of Arrested Development. That is awesome! When I see the Supper thyme logo my brain wants to say “super thime” as in pronouncing the actual “th” sound. It is all screwy, I would never go there. And Kupcakz to me sounds like “cup cocks” (with a Boston accent) the “a” would no longer be a long vowel if you remove the “e’ from the word cake.

  5. Kim / Nov 11 2010 12:24 pm

    ha. I laughed out loud in my cube which I’m sure freaked out my neighbors a little bit. Your blog is awesome. i love it.

  6. Ashley Rainey Sullivan / Nov 11 2010 3:44 pm

    Gah, I totally agree with you on all of this! I never thought about Dress Barn’s name before, but now that you mention it, I realize why I have NEVER gone into one even though I have walked by many times. What a horrible name.

  7. Hillary / Nov 11 2010 7:06 pm

    Though it’s not a brand name example, I am proud to say I am a survivor of horrible name publicity, and a narrow escapist of the Tonight Show. My maiden name is Cox. This was bad enough in high school when I ran for student council and all my posters and a checkmark and said “Check the box for Cox.” (I didn’t get it until about 5 years later.)

    My married name is Short. When my engagement announcement ran in the Tulsa paper, the order was Cox-Short for the title. But they wanted to run our wedding announcement with the names reversed. The lady was very strict about the order. I made sure she darn well knew I would not be playing by the ordering rules and that generations to come would not dig out a faded newspaper announcement from my attic with the title as she wanted it.

    They ran it as Cox-Short.

    • Lauren / Nov 11 2010 9:43 pm

      I am so, so glad you stood your ground against the tyranny of the newspaper lady. Name combo catastrophe avoided!

  8. Danielle LeGrange / Nov 11 2010 9:55 pm

    Hands down though…the greatest store name of all is:

    PFAFF Creative Sewing Center PFAFF

    • Lauren / Nov 11 2010 9:59 pm

      PFAFF I was going to mention that one, but then I figured it was more of a signage issue than a naming issue PFAFF.

  9. Beth / Nov 12 2010 12:35 pm

    What about all these fro-yo (which is a totally annoying name in & of itself…) places… Peach Wave, Orange Leaf…Freshberry. What do those even mean? If I go for frozen yogurt, peach is probably the last option I want… why be so specific with just one flavor in your name? Isn’t the point that you can get any.flavor.you.want? And leaf? why in the world was “leaf” a good word for the title. Nevermind that it’s non-descriptive of frozen yogurt. But why give me a mental association with leaves when I’m looking for frozen yogurt. Don’t get me started…

    • Lauren / Nov 12 2010 1:24 pm

      I completely agree. Soon we will probably have RaspberryStick and KiwiFreshnessBush. So dumb. I guess we can take comfort in the fact that 90% of them will be out of business in five years anyway, right?

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