The shop that Ms Shafton has accidentally named 'W****R' in French.

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A businesswoman from Essex has apologised to members of her local community after she realised that she had made an incredibly serious mistake when coming up with a new name for her gift shop in Leigh On Sea. She thought that she had come up with a catchy name in French that meant ‘joy,’ but after the sign was printed and installed she was ‘horrified’ to learn that the French word for ‘W****R’ was emblazoned in large fancy letters across the front of her shop.

Owner Maria Shafton said: ‘I arranged a lease for one of the new retail units in the exclusive Broadway Mall Development, and I have a huge passion for gifts and fancy artistic trinkets that really bring people a sense of joy – this is why I wanted the word ‘joy’ to be the main focus of my new business name. Giving my business a touch of French flair seemed like the most sensible and fashionable thing to do, and so I called my good friend who lives in the South of France. It was a really bad line, and as far as I was concerned I heard the word ‘branleur,’ when in fact she was saying ‘bonheur’ which is the translation of ‘joy.’ Unfortunately, as time went on I came to realise that my misheard word actually meant ‘W****R.’

She continued: ‘I paid £25,000 for a modern and nouveau-bête style sign to be installed on the front of the retail unit, and when it went up I thought that it looked amazing. However, within a few minutes a group of French exchange students were all gathering around and giggling, and when I asked them why they told me that ‘branleur’ is a very rude word! I was absolutely horrified to learn this, and even more horrified at the number of small children who kept stopping on the pavement and screaming ‘branleur, branleur, branleur’ excitedly. I took out my mobile phone and looked for the word in an online dictionary, and in an instant my heart sank – I realised that I had wasted a huge amount of money on the sign.’

However, the chairman of the Leigh On Sea Retailers and Coffee Emporiums Association has advised Ms Shafton to keep her sign and business name. Acidophilus Montrose-Nash said in an email: ‘Businesses stand out from the crowd when they are edgy and controversial, and it doesn’t get much more controversial than naming a quaint little gift shop after a crude word for an even cruder act of masturbation. In any case, it is in French, and so what you lose in ‘offensive’ you gain in ‘groundbreaking.’





    • My husband went there for a reunion with his former school chums.

      He said the Chow Mein with pulled pork was most memorable and they have all decided to come that way again.