By Amy Beth Miller
I was trying to save money, so I picked up an unfamiliar brand of bacon at the grocery store. Within seconds I put it back. Immediately I had spotted three obvious spelling errors on the package.
If the manufacturer devoted such little attention to the quality of the packaging, I had no confidence that it took care in preparing the meat. I wasn’t willing to risk my family’s health for a few pennies.
When do you question an organization’s commitment to quality because of spelling or grammar errors?
I often consider the context.
I have no problem ordering from a Chinese menu filled with errors. In that case, I don’t think the owner’s proficiency in English has any relationship to the quality of the food.
Last week our editorial director noted that a competitor sent a marketing email for a proofreading webinar with the word “TEST” still in the subject line. While the mistake made me wince too, I’ll bet that the person responsible for the error has a job focused on IT or production knowledge, not proofreading.
And while I hate to see a typographical error in my morning newspaper, I try to keep in mind how few errors there are, considering the volume of work required to produce that paper every day.
I also know that our readers expect perfection in certain products, such as this blog, our Communication Briefings newsletter and our proofreading book, Proofread Like a Pro. As we work on each of those products, I keep this guideline in mind: Strive for perfection, and settle for excellence.
Have you spotted an error recently that damaged the organization’s reputation in your eyes? Tell us about it.