Okay, I’ve reached the limit of my tolerance!!!

I reached it last night. I bought something that was something else than I bought. I no longer know what to expect!

It was a Caesar salad that wasn’t!

Caesar salad is my favorite, and I make it frequently for myself. I often order it when I go out as well, even with my burger (substituting it for fries).

One time, I did just that—burger and Caesar. But the salad I got had no Caesar dressing, in fact, no dressing at all. A Caesar salad with no Caesar dressing?

I complained.

“It has croutons,” I was told. So, croutons defines it as “Caesar?”

In my mind, a Caesar salad requires at least three ingredients to pass the test: romaine lettuce, Caesar dressing and croutons. It usually also contains parmesan cheese.

Last night I bought a Caesar salad to take over to my Mother’s for dinner. Guess what! No romaine lettuce. In fact, no lettuce, at all, but a variety cabbage. (Don’t they call that cole slaw?) To be sure, it did have croutons, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing.

So, you need neither romaine lettuce nor Caesar dressing to still qualify as a Caesar salad, as long as you have croutons? I’m baffled!

So I Googled: “What defines a Caesar salad?” Three similar definitions came up: all require romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese and a collection of seasonings—olive oil, lemon juice, raw egg, and others—that make up the “Caesar” dressing.

So, I did have it right. Some of the products out there don’t. So when you buy something by name, how do you know what you’re getting?

We’re being sold a variety of goods that don’t qualify under the name they’re called. It may not be that important in a salad, provided the ingredients aren’t harmful. But can you imagine the mess if many other products had such wide variation?

– spark plugs for your car?

– the ingredients in your heart medication?

– the size 8 shoes you bought?

– your rent amount each month?

– your prof’s grading scheme?

– the size of your queen bed in the 5-star all-inclusive resort?

Now, let me be clear, I don’t think everything can or should be totally regulated. And some things are clearly more crucial than others for the sake of life, health and personal well-being. But shouldn’t there be some common meanings to the terms we use?

It was Caesar salad that got me thinking. But as I pondered, I realized that there are lots of things in life that go by a broad variation of definitions:

– Christian: almost as many varieties as there are adherents

– vacation: from the five-star exclusive to the tent on Mt. Everest

– family: hard to figure out sometimes who’s in and who isn’t

– girlfriend/boyfriend: Yup, that one’s got a lot of people baffled

– left wing/right wing: enough said

– Rent 2 own: a half dozen models all called by that name (so “buyer beware!”)

Apparently, the English language has about 600,000 words, many more than any other language. And we still can’t figure out the nuances and variations of many of them.

It’s a wonder we communicate as well as we do.

At least, that’s how I see it . . .



Award-winning* Fraser Valley Rent 2 Own is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Rent to Own Professionals (www.CAROP.ca)
* winner of all-star awards, 2012, 2014, 2015 at the Rent 2 Own Summit.