In the week that Oxford Dictionaries added 'bants' and 'butthurt' to its line-up, one shop in America came to the public's attention for legitimising an even more ridiculous word: because it is called Wanker's, and you'll find it on Wanker's Corner.
The owners of Wanker's Country Store – "Where the good times come easy!" – in Oregon are fully aware that their name is more usually shouted by Transit drivers getting cut up in the outside lane of the M4, but they're proud of their long heritage.
The family-owned shop sells speciality wines in the Wanker's Wine Cave, as well as fine cigars (so often the smoke of choice for wankers), hot food from the Wanker's deli, and Wanker's branded t-shirts and hoodies. "Plus an ATM!"
Unfortunately, on social media Wanker's has become the butt of the joke for a growing circle of jerks:
The shop's proprietor Rob Schneider – disappointingly he's not a natural born Wanker – told me the story behind the name: "It's named after the Wanker family, who still own the property, and are my landlords. Their name is spelled like wanker, but it's a German pronunciation, Wonker, and in German wanker doesn't mean the same thing." According to a cursory Google, other famous Wankers have included Austrian curler Werner Wanker, Belgian guitarist Jerry Wanker, and, if we believe Portlandia, pretty much everyone in the nearby city of Portland.
Rob's well aware of the word's double meaning, and says they've gained a lot of celebrity Wanker's fans over the years. Harrison Ford and Brendon Fraser even filmed a movie there, at the old Wanker's Corner Saloon bar next door. "Movie stars have their pictures taken in front of it... Mo Farah has been here and taken his picture." No wonder the Wanker clan have kept a firm hold on their veritable family jewel.
Mo Farah is indeed a fan of Wanker's:
I was excited by the idea of a Wanker's Wine Cave, but it turns out to be disappointingly straight laced: "Yeah, people sit and eat their lunches and dinners, and there's a big wine barrel table. A table made out of a wine barrel. Then there's just a lot of wine for sale, it's a hexagonal shaped room and there's wine for sale all around the outside, and people sit and eat in the middle."
Surprisingly they're still looking for sponsors for the huge illuminated Wanker's sign outside. Who wouldn't want to have their brand associated with Wanker's?
Rob's had the name registered so nobody else can use it, which you have to think might be overkill. He gets a lot of Brits and Australians coming in to check out the wares and pick up a T-shirt, but according to Rob it never rubs him up the wrong way: "It doesn't get to be a pain, it doesn't cause any problem at all."
I didn't want to keep Rob long as it sounded like the shop was filling up with customer (presumably Mrs. Palm and her five lovely daughters had popped in for some speciality meat product from the deli). Still, for fellow wankers out there, there's always the Wanker's Fan Club, and Wanker's promise to start selling their T-shirts online in the future.
It sounds like the extra publicity means the shop is thriving, so at least Rob won't be jacking it in any time soon.
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