Thingifying the world


A sign in the University of Chicago Bookstore:

— ‘Umbrellas are non-refundable.’

I can see why the Bookstore chose this phrasing.  It’s not just shorter, it’s more polite, less in-your-face than the alternatives:

— ‘If you buy an umbrella here, you can’t get a refund for it.’

— ‘We won’t refund your money for an umbrella bought here.’

If I were running the Bookstore, I’d probably use the same sign they did, and I don’t mean to imply that the fate of humankind rests on the phrasing here.  I only want to use the sign as an example of what we do when we thingify the world.

I hope the umbrella example helps to show what I mean by ‘thingify’.  The sign is dealing with what is going on in the world, but converts all that into a single characteristic of a thing.

© Ben Echols 2023.