English is one of the most difficult languages to learn, and it is made no easier by the fact that many famous brand names in the UK are terribly confusing. Let me give you some examples.

Situation #1:

Imagine yourself as a foreigner who visits England for the first time. You might know a couple of words… you might know a hundred. You might even have studied English at school and be proficient in the language. You disembark the plane, go into customs and out into the arrivals hall. And suddenly you realise, ‘O no, I have forgotten my boots!’ (It is winter, you see). You have remembered only to bring one pair of sandals and you have seen that it is raining outside. Out of the corner of your eye you spot the perfect place: ‘Boots’. You hop over, pass through the automatic doors, and what do you find? Not boots, that’s for sure. Cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoo… Any native Englishman or woman knows (seemingly by an innate intuition) that Boots is not the place to go for footwear, and yet it is easy to see how the mistake could be made. Similarly, someone going into ‘Superdrug’ could be very surprised to find that it does not sell what it says on the tin!

Situation #2:

Once again, during your trip to the nation’s capital, you feel like a trip to the zoo. You have heard that Great Britain has a great selection of wildlife parks and you want to check them out. Walking through the shopping centre one day, however, you read on the map that there must be a zoo area inside! Rushing over as quickly as possible, you can’t contain your excitement as you tell all your friends to come and see the animals! Rounding the corner you are zooming along, knocking shoppers all over the place, and you finally find it. No trace of any animals. No worries, you tell yourself, they’re probably just inside. Refusing to be down heartened, you hurry through the entrance and all you find are clothes. Is this some kind of sick joke?, you ask yourself. You find a worker and you ask her what on earth is going on.

“This is Peacocks, sir.”

Situation #3:

Let’s consider for a moment that you are a foreigner who is renting an apartment in the UK. You return from work, go into the kitchen to start the cooking, open the fridge and you discover that all of your  kitchen appliances have broken down. You go into Oxford Street thinking that somewhere on this famous street you will surely be able to find what you are looking for. Suddenly you spot it – the perfect place.

Selfridges.

And what does it sell?

Everything, literally everything, apart from fridges. Baffling.

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