Words: traditional, adj.

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THE LATEST issue of The Grocer brings an inadvertent summary of contemporary England, with the "traditional c-store product portfolio of milk, bread, confectionery, crisps and snacks, soft drinks, cigarettes". These sit as painfully on the lips as "product portfolio" and "traditional".

Johnson defines tradition as "communication from age to age". Whatever elevation c-store owners claim by numbering Mr Apu among their number, such trade hardly traverses the ages - especially as stores keep changing their names (what happened to Wavy Line?). In this case, "usual" is the right word. Traditional has not only acquired a chintzy hue but is used so randomly as to be meaningless: successful books prompt imitations "in the tradition of".