I remember being in complete sympathy with an article I once read about meaningless and infuriating terms that infested the media, most of them originating in the business world. That particular term was, if I recall right, “grabbing eyeballs” for “attracting viewers”. The very infelicity of the term made me wince the first time I heard it. I ask you – would you rather watch something, or have your eyeball grabbed?
Over time, I find, eyeball-grabbing has tended to fade away from the pages and for a (very short) while there temporary dearth of obnoxious terms (apart from “Indian culture”, a perennial detestation of mine) that set my teeth on edge (and imagine how having one’s teeth on edge affects a dentist, while you’re about it). But now, I increasingly see another of those words that make me want, in Hermann Goering’s words, “to reach for my pistol”.
Why the f*ck can’t these people say visitors, or customers, if they’re going to write anything at all? What the hell does it mean if they say “this mall has a footfall of twenty thousand a day”? Does it mean 20,000 individual feet tread in the damn building? Since most people have two feet, that means ten thousand people, doesn’t it? Or, hang on, do they mean feet touch the ground twenty thousand times a day in that mall, which is what it sounds like to me? That could mean just one guy walking up and down, up and down from morning to night. I don't suppose they mean the medical term called foot drop, do you?
I don’t suppose footfall will last any longer than grabbing eyeballs. But once it goes, I wonder what other meaningless term some vainglorious idiot will inflict on us.