A disturbing trend in our society is the increasing frequency of “inconviences.” One can hardly go into a store — even a very reputable one — without being inconvienced. There it is in black and white (or whatever colour of crayon is used by the management): “We Apologize For The Inconvience.”
An “inconvience” is not to be confused with an “inconvenience.” We all know what an inconvenience is. Some examples:
1. The store is closed for the taking of inventory.
2. The little gizmo you swipe your credit or debit card in is not working.
3. The door is out of order. (It may look perfectly in order, but if they say it’s out of order, don’t dispute it. Merchants have the legal right to declare doors out of order.)
4. The item you were looking for is out of stock, and it cannot be re-ordered because the government has just banned it.
5. Today is a holiday. (Please come back tomorrow. Why aren’t you at home with your family?)
6. The only person who can run the store has died. (You can come back day after day indefinitely if you’re that heartless. You’ve got a lot of nerve expecting us to be there while we’re grieving.)
7. The landlord has locked the premises for non-payment of rent. (Call 555-8822 for further information, which will not be available.)
There are highly evolved rules of etiquette that govern inconveniences, and if you abide by them, you will be all right, and society will not collapse.
(Note: a long line is not considered an inconvenience. You’re supposed to bring something to read.)
An “inconvience” is something far more sinister. It is an attack on civilization itself — on all its institutions and, even worse, on me personally.
When a merchant puts up a sign apologizing for an “inconvience,” you can be sure he is insincere. I have complained about inconviences many times, to no avail. No matter how many times I return to check, the inconvience remains unrectified. Such merchants are fiends, criminals, and probably terrorists as well.
I don’t even want to talk about more terrible things, like “incoviances,” “inconvieniances,” “inconnivances,” “inconviantces,” “imcomvinces,” “incontinences,” or “imbroglios.” If you spot one, just walk out immediately and try not to think about what is going on in the back room.