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  • Mistakes Right Before Your Eyes

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on December 30th, 2012 (All posts by )

    When I was a first year staff person a couple of decades ago there was a presentation to a major multi-national company and I was the lowest ranking person on the team by a country mile. The account team prepared a map of the world with the client’s locations listed.

    I looked at the map for about 2 seconds and just shouted out

    You have Scandinavia on there twice

    When they printed the map, for some reason they had Norway there one time and then again out in the Atlantic. I noticed it immediately because, well, it was very obvious (to me).

    The account team was cursing because there was no time to change anything and they alternatively were mad at me and just laughing that someone who was a kid just hit their major presentation that hard. I think the presentation went well (I wasn’t at the meeting) and probably the client hardly noticed, anyways.

    As I walked down the street in River North I noticed a custom clothing store that took up their main window space with this advertisement. This is pretty important because they get a lot of sidewalk traffic.

    In 2 seconds I noted that $2,550 – $1,550 doesn’t equal a $383 discount – that sounds like $1000 to me. How they even got to $383 is a question in and of itself.

    Cross posted at LITGM


    5 Responses to “Mistakes Right Before Your Eyes”

    1. Cris Says:

      It seems like standards are falling all over, Carl. I kind of hope your post starts a “Can you top this?” thread.
      Just one of my stories…Big international corporation up along the I-294 corridor. We have assets world-wide. People traveling all over. We get an emergency plan that calls for contacting scores of managers in case of emergency in their country or region. We get the location, then have to find the manager.
      There is a list,in hard copy. Three pages of names, obviously an Excel document. Three columns: Name, location, email address. It is sorted alphabetically by name of the manager, not the country or region.
      I fear things will get worse, not better.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      Some of the funniest mistakes I have encountered are the English subtitles of some shows. One of the funniest is from the series Foyle’s War, an excellent series – on and off – when the producer can get money – but David Foster and a lot of you fellow history nuts would love this series, which starts in pre Battle of Britain England and goes through the end of the war. All wonderful history background in addition to great mystery plots.

      But the subtitles.

      I have a friend – a cinamaphile – hard of hearing – and he laughs at some of them – between the actual audio and what is transcribed in text.

      I think a computer translates it but honestly how hard would it be for an editor to take a run though – make notes (and times) of inaccuracies, and make the corrections?

      Apparently too hard.

    3. Dan from Madison Says:

      When a mistake is made at my business I attempt to understand why before I confront the employee and also to eliminate possible excuses they may have such as “the computer did it” etc.

      Above, 2550 x .15 = 382.50 and that is where the discount amount probably came from.

      Of course the package price is wrong at 1550. I am guessing that the numbers were plugged in there with a sort of excel program that auto fills the columns in some fashion. That doesn’t excuse the fact that it wasn’t caught in proof reading and the error is even worse if they didn’t have a second person take a look at it before it was printed or if the second person missed the error too.

    4. Mike K Says:

      There’s actually a rather obvious mistake in O’Hare Airport although I think it might have been corrected. I now fly into Midway and haven’t been to O’Hare in years. They have an exhibit in the American terminal showing Butch O’Hare’s plane and another showing the planes from the Battle of Midway, as I recall. When the display was new, a few years ago, the case showed the wrong airplane. It was a TBF and was labeled an F4F, or vice versa. I remember thinking that it was such an obvious error and in an airport named for a Navy pilot.

    5. carl from chicago Says:

      Dan you likely hit it right on the head with how they miscalculated it. You have more stomach for figuring out how things were done incorrectly than I do.

      I will keep my eyes out for other things that are always wrong.

      An easy one is the translation of the sports announcers when you turn on the “translate” feed, such as when you see the TV on in a bar with the sound off. They don’t know basic football or baseball concepts much less the ability to spell the stars. You’d think they could teach them a basic course before they started translating… or more likely it is all automatic by machine and no one fixes it.

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