“Okay, okay,” you say. “Pointing out typos and other copy editing failures is fun and all, but does any of this stuff really matter?”
Well, how about this? In Albuquerque, New Mexico, officials recently wrote up a proposal to increase the minimum wage and change how employees receive tips, hoping to get it on the November ballot. More than 12,000 people signed it, and the proposal seemed on its way to a slam-dunk victory, before someone noticed an error in a key section. Here’s the troublesome passage:
The measure would also require that starting in 2013, employers of tipped employees like waitresses and waiters be paid at least 45 percent of the minimum wage in cash wages from their employers.
See the problem? According to the wording above, who will be receiving the wages here? That’s right—the employers. Obviously, it should be the employees who will benefit from the change in minimum wage and tips, not their bosses. But that’s not what the proposal says. Councilor Ken Sanchez, one of the sponsors, said that if the proposal passes as is, lawsuits will probably be filed against the city.
As you might imagine, changing the wording of a government proposal after it’s been voted on involves just a bit of bureaucracy. Albuquerque city councilors are thinking about letting the current proposal appear on the ballot and also putting up another version with corrected wording. (Sure—that won’t be confusing to voters.)
Whatever happens, this is a good lesson in clear writing, good copy editing, and/or careful proofreading—take your pick.
(Here’s the source of this story.)