Geek Squad has a great brand story: the black-and-white Geek Mobiles, the orange-and-black police-barricade identity, the "agents" in retro short-sleeve dress shirts. Word is, they even do a pretty good job of fixing "any PC problem anytime, anywhere" and saving "victims of rogue technology."
The rules of English spelling, however, must not be in the Geek Squad manual.
Case in point: a full-page ad in the August issue of Wired (page 020 of the "How To" insert). The headline reads: "Your Right to Computer Support Supercedes Our Right to a Social Life."
Cute. But wrong. It's supersedes, not "supercedes."
"Supersede" is an odd word with an orphan spelling--an exception to the -cede rule that used to be universally taught in, oh, eighth-grade English. Perhaps the Geek Squad guys were playing D&D instead of paying attention to the teacher, so here's the makeup class:
Unlike "recede," "intercede," and "precede"--in which -cede comes from the Latin word meaning "to go"--"supersede" (meaning "to replace") incorporates the Latin root "sedere," which means "to sit." To supersede originally meant "to sit higher than"--as in a sedan chair (same root), a conveyance in which a rich person could sit while being transported by lackeys.
This isn't a six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-the-other matter, or an arguable point such as till and until. "Supercedes" is just wrong. Teeth-gnashingly wrong when displayed in 30-point type.
What have we learned? If you're doubtful about how to spell it, look it up. Yes, in a dictionary. Don't trust your spell-checker, which has the vocabulary of a six-year-old. (TypePad's spell-checker usually isn't even that smart--although it did flag "supercedes.") And, as Patricia T. O'Connor relates in Words Fail Me, your speller won't stop you from making miss steaks if their spelled wright.
And while we're at it, Geeks, why so stingy with the hyphens? You need at least one in your tagline, "24 Hour Computer Support Task Force" (between "24" and "Hour," to create a compound adjective; I'll let you slide on "Computer Support," which is also an adjective here).
Believe it or not, I'm not nearly as cranky as Lynn Truss on this subject; if people don't care about spelling and punctuation in their personal correspondence, that's OK with me. But in a full-page national ad, presumably created by a high-priced ad agency and vetted by $400-an-hour attorneys? Sorry, fellas: I'm going to have to issue a citation. Next time, hire a proofreader (see below).