Not the best way to treat your customers

Lately I’ve been posting pictures of signs that feature typos. Here’s one that suffers from a different kind of problem. It meant to say one thing but ended up saying another.

So if parking is limited to 90 minutes for Whole Foods Market customers only, does that mean people who are shopping in a different store can park in the lot for as long as they want? Can the guy who lives down the block leave his car in the lot all the time? I guess Whole Foods Market customers are the only ones getting the shaft here. Doesn’t seem like the best way to treat the people spending money in your store!

They could have avoided the problem by adding a few more words to the sign. Something like: “. . . parking is limited to 90 minutes and is for Whole Foods Market customers only.” It’s usually worth giving a little extra attention to ensure that your message is being conveyed accurately, especially when it’s displayed in public.

(The above photo was kindly donated to the blog by Josh Weinberg. Thanks, Josh!)

Probably not the kind of pubicity they wanted

The Red Lion Area school district in Pennsylvania tried to drum up some sponsors by creating a snazzy banner to display at football games. I imagine the idea was “Hey, once local businesses see how cool our banner looks, they’ll want to become sponsors and get their names up on the next banner!”

But their banner had a wee bit of a typo.

Don Dimoff, the marketing and communications manager for the district, said:

“Of all the missed letters, it had to be that one. The poor sign company feels horrible because they missed it. The people who hung the sign feel horrible because they missed it. I feel horrible. I’ve been losing sleep and haven’t eaten in two days trying to deal with this.”

The school district has apologized for what they described as an “unfortunate error.”

Cheer up, Red Lion folks! Maybe the banner will attract some sponsors after all—though maybe not the kind you were expecting.

Signs and Portents

Because I like the word “portents” in combination with “signs,” and for no other reason, I made that the title. I’m sure you’ll deal with it in your own ways.

Well, okay; part of my reason is also that I have this neat pic of a sign, which I’ve quite openly swiped from Amanda Patterson over at The Plain Language Programme (Aussies spell things with extra letters, just like the Brits do).

Here’s your sign. (Apologies to Bill Engvall for stealing his line, but in this case it really is relevant.)

All that’s needed to correct the problem is an “s” and an apostrophe. That’s all. Such a simple fix, yet so very far away . . .

Then there’s the gem I received via a Facebook message from a friend, Janet Deaver-Pack. She shared with me a typo from the cover of the newest catalogue from Bits and Pieces (http://bitsandpieces.com), which features a “secret book box” that I presume is like this one. I presume this, because the same error appears on this item. Look closely at the central “book” title. The last time I checked, something decorated with gold is “gilded.” Perhaps the creator of this product is a union supporter; that might begin to explain the typo.

As Janet said to me, “There are dictionaries in the world.” Of course, some folks need the special “misspeller’s dictionaries” because after all, if you don’t know how to spell the word to start with, how are you supposed to find it?

 

Let’s shoot the chute!

I have to say this isn’t a very common error, at least in my experience stalking the wild typo. In the coffee aisle (not isle) at the local big box department store, next to the pricey “designer coffee” with its own grinder, I spotted this sign.

Maybe it’s missing a comma?

In fact, this is such an uncommon example I stood there for a few seconds while my brain processed the information. I wasn’t in “editing mode” during this part of our trip, admittedly. Usually that mode is always engaged and running in the background. The delay rather unnerved me, truth to tell. However, once I realized what I was seeing, I snapped a photo for posterity (and you, kind readers) because it was just too good to pass up.

As for my caption: I did come up with a rather unconventional correction that could conceivably make sense. Kinda. A little. Okay, not really, but it amused me to think of it. “Slide bag behind, shoot to activate lever.” Nice comma fault, that way, isn’t it? A semicolon makes better sense.

Or, we could just–y’know–use the correct word. “Chute.”