I’d like to have a chat with you, my good reader (I know there’s one of you out there), about perception and how it relates to proofreading. More precisely, I want to talk about how it relates to the lack of proofreading. I even have a concrete example. Shall we?
This restaurant in Rockford IL is offering a “Final Feast” on the supposed last night of our lives, December 20, 2012. For $180 per person one can enjoy a nine-part dinner (an amuse bouche, courses one through three, an intermezzo, courses four and five, a cheese course, and dessert, each with wine pairings) including foie gras, caviar, Dungeness crab, Dover sole, filet mignon, and a chocolate cake adorned with edible 24k gold leaf. Pretty classy, right? Really upper crust, right?
Can someone please explain to me why no one proofread the menu? For that matter, no one proofread the webpage it’s on, either. Nor did anyone proofread their lunch menu, where one can get salad with “musclen,” or “mesclin,” or the actual “mesclun” blend. Yes. All three versions on one page, like some kind of bonus package. But I digress.
For a feast costing $180 a head, featuring such a five-star lineup of dishes and wines, I expect the printed menu (either online or on paper) to be error-free. I expect a high standard for the food AND for the written word in such an establishment. This ain’t EAT AT JOE’S with the one burned-out letter in the vintage neon sign. It’s a place run by an award-winning chef with a stellar reputation. Pity the printing on his menus didn’t receive the same level of attention as his dishes do. There is simply no excuse for “pared” instead of “paired,” or for “chives organic scrambled egg” (I’m pretty sure there should be a comma after “chives,” don’t you think?), or for “Tequilla.” And that’s only in the menu proper. There are also the errors in the text at the top of the web page, where we see that the staff is “exited to show off their . . . talent” and that the wines and liquor choices “will be announce closer to the dinner.”
Honestly, there is no excuse for this kind of sloppiness. As much as I despise using software to do an editor’s or proofreader’s job, in this case I don’t mind saying I think it would have helped. When I first heard about this “Final Feast” I thought it sounded like something I would actually attend, had I the wherewithal to do so. My perception changed when I saw how poorly the menu had been prepared. Perhaps one might say “He’s a chef, not an editor.” True enough, but–he should care as much about the printed description of his dishes as he does about the dishes themselves. As it is, I find I don’t really care that I can’t possibly afford to attend this “Final Feast.” As sloppy as the menu is, part of me wonders just how perfect the foods will really be.
Perception. It’s powerful stuff.