I find it fascinating when typos are so common that online stores consider them and can redirect these mistakes to what you actually need. Maybe home improvement stores do this with spigots already when someone searches for a “spicket,” but what’s gotten my attention lately is the mistake of “manila” vs. “vanilla” folders.
Do you know what they are actually called?
Before you embarrass yourself in front of your boss, please remember that the correct word is “manila.”
They have nothing to do with anything vanilla in taste or color. (I’m guessing you already knew that about any potential taste, but I’m just covering all the bases here.)
Here’s the story:
Manila folders were introduced to the world in the late 1800s. They gained their name from the material that they were originally made out of, manila hemp. This specific type of hemp comes from a species of plantain-like fruit called abacá, which grows largely in the Philippines, and, of course, you know that Manila is the capitol of the Philippines. Manila hemp was a popular material in paper making, its yellowish-brown fibers strong yet thin, perfect for folders and envelopes.
Of course, manila folders are not still made of manila hemp; however, they are most commonly colored to mimic the original shade of yellowish brown. It’s funny how people get used to things and want to keep them familiar, isn’t it?
The “vanilla envelope” confusion seems to go back to the 1980s, or at least that’s when there’s a written record of it jumping into popular use.
Typos persist, but don’t depend on someone else (or ecommerce website redirects) to fix this problem for you. At work, at school, or organizing your home file cabinet, go ahead and use the supplies that make things easier. Manila envelopes are sturdy and multi-purpose. But they are in no way connected with vanilla.
Please don’t plop your vanilla ice cream on your folders to make this better. No vanilla bean essential oil needs to be a part of this. It’s a simple swap–not “vanilla” but “manila.” I have faith you can get this right.
Is this pushing the envelope? Nope, but it is time to get this word right.
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