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May 08, 2015


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It's GROO-ber-ee, no two ways about it. Besides my (and your) constant admonition that kree8ive spelling does not a trademark make, there's also my admonition and the PTO's that you cannot control how a mark is pronounced. I see GROO-ber-ee, I SAY GROO-ber-ee, and no amount of trying to hammer "grubbery" into the public mind will help. Plus, doesn't that just rhyme with "shrubbery" and "rubbery," neither of which is particularly evocative when it comes to food anyway? (And no, I haven't been to The Grubbery here in Denver.)

Your post today about "GROO-berie" reminds me of the difficulty I have remembering just how the owners of a Pacific Northwest grocery chain would prefer I pronounce the brightly-lit name above their doors. This company was apparently founded in 1933 when a husband, his wife and the wife's brother opened a store in Bellingham, WA. Instead of calling the store Clark's after the wife's brother, they opted for the couple's last name: Haggen.

Now, I totally understand that the usual rules of pronunciation go out the window when it comes to family names. My own family tree is strewn with Schlenders and Ścisłowiczes (which slowly became Scistowicz, then Sistowicz). Still, when I see the double consonant in the middle of the name, I can only form HAG-gen (with a short-a and rhyming with 'wagon') in my head. The firm's website confirms they pronounce the name as HAY-gen. (The only similar name I'm familiar with is Hagen, as in Nina Hagen, which rhymes with 'noggin'.)

The Haggen chain has recently purchased about 150 Vons and Albertson stores in the Southwest which they plan to convert to Haggen grocery stores. They do not seem eager to reinforce their peculiar pronunciation in the minds of their new Southern Californian customers, though. The last few flyers I've received in the mail use the tagline: "Hello Haggen. Goodbye hassle." Maybe "Come to Haggen and buy some bacon" would've been a better choice.

Rhino1515: Or "Hello Haggen. We're not pagan!"

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