If you’re going to operate on people’s brains, you don’t need to know how to use an apostrophe. If you’re going to drive a race car, you don’t need to know how to use an apostrophe. If you’re going to write signs, you need to have that apostrophe business down cold, damnit. If your store needs to write a sign, for crying out loud, surely you have at least one person on staff who didn’t smoke weed all through high school? And if you don’t, hey, they have grammar help on the internet.
It’s getting to the point where I see apostrophes used incorrectly more often than I see them used correctly. I mean, really, people, it’s not rocket science. It’s “CDs on sale”, not “CD’s on sale.” Or if you’re selling apples, it’s not “apple’s $1.29/lb.”
My fear is that this is a paradigm switch. Since so many people think it’s okay to write their native language poorly, and anti-intellectualism is as firmly entrenched in American culture as a resentment of monarchy, we’re going to get to the point where the dumb-asses are going to win.
I have some empathy with grammarians of old. A hundred years ago, everyone attended to his grammar faithfully, and now everyone ignores what their English teachers taught them. But there’s a good (feminist) reason to use “their” instead of “his.” The surfeit of apostrophes is just laziness.
I predict that twenty years from now, your iPhone and Word (or equivalent) auto fills will put an apostrophe any time there is an S. If your name is “Miles,” so sorry, you will have to be “Mile’s” from now on. If you have more than one dog, you will take your “dog’s” for a walk. Ditto for “alot” which will become only one word, and “regardless” which will be auto-corrected to “irregardless.”