Lum: AMEX enters the everyday fray |

Lum: AMEX enters the everyday fray

I’ve been tilting at the windmills of “every day” versus “everyday” long enough to realize that I’m just pissing in the wind, so to speak. I try not to wince and groan when I read, “We think of you everyday,” or “I wore my every day dress.”

“Everyday” one word means ordinary, and “every day” two words means each day. Thus it should be, “We think of you every day,” and “I wore my everyday dress.”

I know, I know, they both sound the same and who cares — let everyday join the ranks of rain, rein and reign and your, you’re and yore. Pick up a 100-year-old newspaper and see how much the language has changed in the space of one lifetime.

But I was shocked out of my everyday ennui when I received a piece of junk mail from American Express with the headline, “The Card That Rewards Your Every Day.”

Whoa! It looks as if Amex’s marketing people weren’t sure whether to use one word or two, so they picked a combination that didn’t make any sense at all.

Were they trying to say, “The card that rewards you every day,” or “The card that rewards your everyday purchases,” or did they figure the reader would see “rewards” and “every day” and no extra explanation was required?

Farther down in the copy, the text transmogrified from “Every Day” to “EveryDay®” and the plot thickened. With the sly tactic of capitalizing “Day” and squeezing the two words together to make one non-word, Amex compounded its chutzpa by having the gonads to claim ownership of the new non-word by adding a ® registration symbol.

We have enough trouble with the two versions, now along comes a third, which I suppose we should be thankful we can’t use because it belongs to American Express.

And still a bit further down, the words “Membership Rewards” are followed by the duplicitous ®. Really? The words “Membership Rewards” are owned by American Express?

American Express used to be the hotshot showoff credit card. They chewed off their own foot by charging higher rates than other cards, causing stores to refuse to carry them, causing shoppers to spurn them. I have heard they do well overseas, but if this advertising mailing is any example, they are slipping away from maintaining the reputation of being The New York Times of the credit card world and heading for the National Enquirer.

Between the sea of the registered and the trademark and the copyright symbols, Amex advertising may soon be impossible to decipher at all.

Some manufacturers are more paranoid than others. If you mention the nose-blowing tissues that begin with a K, you will hear from a bevy of barristers, and that goes double for use of the J word to identify that jiggly dessert that originally came in strawberry, raspberry, cherry, orange, lemon, and lime.

Mike Iceberg ran a little ad selling stickers with the Tonka Toy logo on them to put on little cars. We needed wheelbarrows to bring the legal briefs through our front door.

You’d think that making a brand name an everyday expression would be great advertising rather than damaging. If I had written “TT” there, I’ll bet you wouldn’t have known what it meant. I rest my case.

Su Lum is a longtime local who assumes that everyone has already voted. She used the everyday mail-in ballot. This column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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