I had quite a funny experience just the other day in a small newsagent's near my house. Well, when I say 'funny' it wasn't really funny at all! There were these two youngsters, probably about ten and eleven years old, and while the woman behind the counter's back was turned I saw them taking handfuls of sweets off the shelves and stuffing them into their pockets. I was just about to say something when a couple more customers came in and in the end I didn't say anything. I wish I had now.
When I saw the words in bold, I thought that the woman was behind the counter's back (which I would have referred to as the back of the counter, anyway) and then thought that couldn't be right, it simply wasn't logical. Then it dawned on me that they were talking about a woman behind a counter who had turned her back to the youngsters, which reminded me of something I had read in an old English grammar (written in Portuguese) years before but had actually never encountered in real life: the group genitive (not sure of the name, though. I tried to track the book but was unsuccessful). Once thing I do remember, though, is that the book didn't have a very high opinion of this construction and recommended rephrasing it. Is this a typical British thing or have any of the non-Brits here read/heard this before and how acceptable do you deem it, if acceptable is the right word to use?