I’ve written before about my intense annoyance with people who can’t quite figure out how to use apostrophes and quotation marks. In fact, I’ve often thought about sending violators on my message boards a link to this site with a plea that they read and study it before embarrassing themselves further.

Here’s a related annoyance: people who add a possessive to a business name when there isn’t supposed to be one. I noticed this years ago when I kept hearing people refer to a local queer bar in Charlotte as “Scorpio’s” when the name, in fact, was “Scorpio”. People apparently assumed (erroneously) that it was founded by some guy named George M. Scorpio or something. I also noticed that people said things like “I’m going down to Kmart’s”, which no doubt was named for famed retailing genius Abraham J. Kmart.

I assumed it was just another southern oddity — like “license” being treated as a plural word because it ends in an “s” sound — until I moved to California and heard people talking about shopping at something called “Lucky’s”. There was never a supermarket chain called “Lucky’s” in California, although there was one called “Lucky”. Even today, newspaper columnists — who should know better, at least in theory — make the same mistake.

It’s OK to do this with stores that really DO use the possessive in their names and advertising, like Kinko’s (actually named after a guy whose nickname was “Kinko”) and Macy’s. I can even forgive it in cases of companies that used the possessive in their names in the PAST, like J.C. Penney, which was still installing “Penney’s” signage as late as the early 1970s, and Belk, which caused a little bit of controversy in North Carolina when it lost its “s” in the late 1960s. Lucky and Kmart, though, don’t fit into either of these categories.

Saying “Lucky’s” or “Costco’s” or “Kmart’s” sounds just plain silly…