Medium

Medium: (noun) “something which is intermediate between two degrees, amounts, qualities, or classes; a middle state.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

Businesses: If you have only two sizes of something, NEITHER of them is a MEDIUM. And if you have three sizes, the SMALLEST one is not the MEDIUM one. Do you know which one is? THE ONE IN THE MIDDLE! Papa Murphy’s Pizza has three sizes of pizza. They call them “Medium,” “Large,” and “Family Size.” Oy. Seriously, what is wrong with “Small,” “Medium,”  and “Large?” And why do you want to dis someone who wants to order the largest size even though they aren’t taking it home to share it with any family? Firehouse Subs has two sizes of sandwiches – TWO. I went in there yesterday and ordered a “small Sub on a Club” (indicating, pretty clearly I thought, that of the two sizes available, I wanted the smaller one.) The girl blinked at me and then asked if I wanted a medium or a large.

I didn’t hurt her . . . I didn’t!

I know it’s their business and they can call their stuff whatever they want. But it just hurts me a little bit every time I have to order. Would it really be SO damaging to their sales if they just used the right words?

If I ever have a business and have two sizes of something, I’m going to call them Smaller and Larger.  And if anything on my list of goods available is called “Medium” you can bet your sweet ass there will be 3 sizes (or qualities) of that item available (or maybe 5 or 7 – some number which there can be a middle of.)

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About dahnajeen

I'm Donna Jean Hunter. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Patterson told me I was a great writer and would be an author when I grew up. She always had me read my stories to the class, and even took me around to the other classrooms to have me read to them. I'm pretty sure the other kids all hated me that year. I don't care though. I love Mrs. Patterson. Of course she did not know then about the Internet and blogging and how much of what people read would no longer be on paper when I grew up. I have had a few things published in a college literary journal, and once, for a few weeks--until it threatened to kill me with boredom and I quit--I actually received pay for working as a technical writer. But so far, I have not been able to say that I'm a writer in the sense that it is what I do for a living. I still sort of dream of that happening one day. But in the meantime, I teach high school English, and can't stop being a writer whether anyone reads it or not. I hope someone enjoys some of it.
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3 Responses to Medium

  1. Jeff Sexton says:

    I hear ya. From a grammatical and “no BS” point of view, this labeling practice is annoying. But from a psychological & marketing perspective, these “inventive” labels matter. Whether you’ll admit it or not, you feel better paying more for a medium than you do for a small, even if the serving size is the same. These restaurants label the way they do for a reason (or several reasons), and justifying price is one of them. Would anyone pay what Starbucks charges for a Tall Latte if it was called a “small”?

    The other thing to keep in mind, is that the “medium” label might not be in comparison to their other offerings, but in comparison to the standard sizings expected by customers. Santino’s, a sandwich chain I eat at occasionally, only offers two sizes: “half” and “full.” But their “half” grinder is 8 freaking inches long and stuffed with meat. Now, do you think “half” or “medium” is a more descriptive and predictive label for that sandwich? Frankly, I watch people discount the “half” size every day and then bulge at the eyes when a “Full” sandwich is served up in front of them.

    – Jeff

    • dahnajeen says:

      Hey Jeff! Thanks for your response.

      Yes, although my rant might seem to imply otherwise, I actually do understand that the reason behind the labeling is marketing. And maybe that does have a significant affect on the average consumer, but if so that really makes me sad – people should be smarter. And no, I personally do not feel better paying more because it is called “medium” (nor would I feel worse if they called it “The Itty Bitty” if that described it accurately) – because words and their meanings matter so much to me, and because I am practical enough to look at a product and judge its merit based on its actual qualities. I need the label to help me locate what I’m looking for, not to fool me into thinking I’m buying something more than what I really am. The only reason I care about the label at all is for its descriptive value, and when they ruin that, it just pisses me off. Frankly, I would rather pay a little bit more for all of the sizes if that meant they would be labeled in a logical way that helps me decide what is what. But, perhaps I’m the exception to the rule. I often am. (sigh)

      And yes, of course people would still pay what Starbucks charges for a Tall Latte because people LOVE that stuff! Maybe it would bother them a little bit more than it does when they call it “tall” – I don’t know. But if it were me (I don’t drink coffee) it would bother me less – because at least they are being honest with me about the exchange and nobody is fooling themselves, thinking they are fooling anyone else.

      In your example of the sandwiches – that makes sense if I am correct in assuming the “half” is actually half the size of the “full.” I don’t see anything wrong with that at all – the words mean what they say. I love it when that happens. 🙂

      Thanks again for commenting!

      • dahnajeen says:

        LOL – Today I ordered a “small Dr Pepper” from a drive-thru. I NEVER order smalls, so the medium/large question has been my only sticking point up until now on drinks. When she asked for $2, I questioned this – seemed kind of steep for a small. She said, “Oh, did you want the small or the value size?” ARRRGGGHH!!!

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