Thank duck its Friday! I need your Help

In a word where we fight for freedom of speech, has it now become inappropriate to use the word duck?

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Ay up fellow Dukkies. I need your help. 

I had just opened the shop this morning, and was putting the kettle on for the first cuppa of the day, when a woman entered the shop. I said my usual hello as I always do to new customers, and carried on setting up the shop.

I thought she was just avin a ‘goz’ at what I was selling, so I left her to it. but clearly, she had another agenda. She came up to the counter and asked me who did all the artwork. I went into my usual spiel, that we’re an independent gift shop, and that I produce all the local dialect stuff and my partner Ian paints all the Local Landmarks.

Then she said “so why this?” and pointed to this frame

          5x7-black-for-ducks-sake

“this isn’t Nottingham” she said (she was right) “why are you encouraging swear words in your shop? Everything else is great in the shop, but this ruins it” She went on.

I tried to explain that it was a play on words, and that I had created them because we are called DUKKI, and it was supposed to be funny. But she didn’t see the funny side to it.

For those of you that don’t know, I sell a whole range of products replacing the F word for the word duck

 WTD

I thanked her for her feedback, and told her she was the first person to have ever complained about these designs. After she’d left, I felt quite upset. I wanted to say “duck you!” But then I stopped and thought about it. Had I just become so desensitised to hearing swear words, that it didn’t offend me anymore?

There are so many things which do offend me in society. Hearing mum’s shouting and swearing at their kids whilst they run riot outside the shop, caring nothing for the people around them having to hear it. Surely that is worse than a picture which uses a word that happens to sound like a swear word?

oh duck it_jute

We have sold a lot of these pieces, and because they are not strictly Nottingham themed, they appeal to people from all over the country. In fact most of these designs sell on-line, to people outside of Nottingham. They form part of our bread and butter income. Yet, the last thing I want to do is offend anyone. It wasn’t until this lady came in this morning, that I’d ever given it a second thought about it being offensive.

I have always been brought up without swearing, it was totally frowned upon in my upbringing, yet even my mum can see the funny side to these images.

Which begs the question: Should we remove these products? What about ‘Mardy Bum’ and ‘Daft little Bogger’? Are these offensive too?

little bogger

In a word where we fight for freedom of speech, has it now become inappropriate to use the word duck?

We sell a lot with ‘Ay up me Duck!’ on, but here the word ‘Duck’ hasn’t been used as a substitute for swearing.

Does anyone actually give a duck?

 Please feel free to share this post, as I’d love to know your thoughts.

TA-RA for now, Duck!

4 thoughts on “Thank duck its Friday! I need your Help”

    1. Your prod……ducks are great keep up the hard work your shop is brilliant. I had a rite larrff….. I am sure customers will leave if they are not happy.

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  1. Euphemisms are an important linguistic tool. There’s even a specific category of euphemism to replace swearing (minced oath: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/minced-oath.html – some on that list may surprise you!). Saying “duck it” isn’t really any different than saying “jeez” or “darn” or “shoot” or whatever euphemism you grew up with when you stubbed your toe or wanted to rage at the world.

    There’s even research that shows that swearing (and, presumably, minced oaths) have important roles in pain management, stress management, and linguistic development. A quick google search gave me this article: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2012/may-june-12/the-science-of-swearing.html which I have only skimmed, but seems to present both the positive and negative impact of swearing with, if anything, more examples of the positive.

    You can choose how you present potentially offensive things, and I think the “duck it” art is light-hearted and humourous – ticking most if not all of the positive boxes that swearing or minced oaths provide. You can’t choose what people get offended by, but if you removed everything that was potentially problematic, you’d have a very empty shop, and an emptier life.

    Tl;dr: I think you’re fine.

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