I've decided to try to get brand names out of my speech patterns. It may be only symbolic, but I'd like to rid my vocabulary of corporate marketing as much as I can. I want to call objects by their actual names, not what Procter & Gamble or 3M or Johnson & Johnson wants me to call them.
As far as I can tell, the use of genericized brand names is even more prevalent in the Canada than in the US, but it's rampant on both sides of the border.
I grew up saying "Scotch tape," but have been trying to say "clear tape" now, or just "tape", if the type of tape is understood in context.
I've never said "Kleenex" for "tissue". My family always said "tissue" so that's what I came to use.
But I do say Band-Aid and Q-tip. I haven't yet gotten the knack of "bandage" and "cotton swab," but I'm going to try. I believe in the UK they're called ear-buds or ear-sticks. Not sure what Canadians say?
I do say "photocopy," not "Xerox". But I still use "white-out" occasionally, not "correction fluid". (The brand name is spelled without the h.)
Until I looked into this, I never even knew that the words "ketchup," "aspirin," "dry ice" and "zipper" were all once trademarked. What would I use in their stead? I know Brits say "zip," but to me, that's a verb. And what on earth is "catsup"? I can't go there. So I'll give myself permission to use certain words that have filtered down into generic vocabulary. It might be arbitrary, based on how long a word has been in use, or what my grandmother said, but rather than try to remake all my speech patterns, I'll just go with these.
But I will stop calling my generic ibuprofen "Advil".
In Canada, as in the UK, people vacuum the house by doing the "hoovering". People call cream cheese "philly". For some reason, that one particularly rankles me. I always want to yell, "It's cream cheese! Call it cream cheese!" (I don't.)
I'm told that some USians, especially Southerners, grew up using "coke" as a generic name for soda or pop. I've never heard it myself, but I'm sure that would drive me crazy, too. That would be like calling a hamburger a "McDonald". Awful.
Then there are relatively recent - historically speaking - locutions like Walkman, iPod, Rollerblade and the verb Photoshop. The expression "inline skate" is common (I wrote about that once), but who ever called a Walkman a personal stereo device? Or an iPod a portable media player, no matter what the brand? It takes too long. I'll ask, "Is that Photoshopped?", not, "Did someone digitally alter that picture?"
This may be more difficult than I thought.