Dollar Message: Instructional Ode

English: A dollar store, "Dollar Bonheur&...

English: A dollar store, “Dollar Bonheur” (French for “Dollar Happiness”), in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Français : «Dollar Bonheur» à Montréal (Québec, Canada). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Lotte Department Store

English: Lotte Department Store (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You’re at your favourite department store buying a birthday present for a friend. As the cashier gives you change, you notice a message with specific instructions scribbled on one of the bills. What do the instructions say? Do you carry them out and, if so, how?

The dollar bill came with instructions,

‘Return to so-and-so, if found,

This is my first-earned dollar bill.’

My partner laughed and said,

“No way. It may be just a dollar but I’m Indian and its Rs. 60 to me, you moron!

Why did you ever let it go?”

And I said “Let’s do it, anyway.

It’s the right thing to do.

Besides, it might be fun. You never know, who’s at the other end of the line.”

And we dialed the number and we dialed it again and we re-dialed and then some more.

But all we got was voice mail or a busy line.

And so we saved our dollar for the Dollar Store.

~Linus Fernandes

Social versus societal


English: This is a diagram of societal develop...

English: This is a diagram of societal development that encapsulates the stage of human development: hunter/gatherer, pastoralist/horticulturalist, agrarian, industrial, and post-industrial. It also ties those stage of development to the important consequences of societal development, namely: surplus, denser populations, specialization, and inequality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


What’s the difference betweensocial and societal? Not much, but enough that you may become the victim of social stigma if you ignore subtle societal signals.


Societal is the pedantic alternative to social. They both mean “pertaining to society,” but as the latter word, first attested in the Middle Ages, was increasingly used in the modern era to refer to interpersonal contact rather than in the context of complex forces within human populations, societal appeared in the latter part of the nineteenth century as a more serious, scholarly alternative. It is mostly seen in such usage and is otherwise considered pretentious.


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