We all want to know what will happen to local Albertsons stores and employees now that the two Albertsons chains are together again. Will any stores close? Will more employees be let go?
But I have an even more pressing question:
What about the apostrophe?
Should the reunited chain be called Albertsons, with no apostrophe? Or Albertson's, with?
The question is not new. Albertsons Inc. wasn't using the apostrophe even before it was broken up and sold in 2006. Maybe that's why it struggled so.
In general, apostrophes have two uses: to show contractions (I'm going to the store), and to show possession (Joe's store sells oranges). But apostrophes are misused frequently. People omit them where they're needed (Eat at Joes) and insert them where they do not belong (The orange's are good).
Albertson's LLC tells us to use the possessive apostrophe for the company's name. (We asked.) The stores themselves go without it. Press releases show Albertson's LLC itself is confused: Sometimes releases use the apostrophe in the company name, sometimes not. The company logo still shows no sign of the punctuation mark.
What's a lover of the written word to do? Is the proper use of the apostrophe dying, hastened to its demise by a Boise-based supermarket chain?
Poor little apostrophe, ask not for whom the bell toll's. It toll's for thee.