I read an article recently about a typo that cost the New York City transit system $250,000 to replace maps that had a typo in the minimum cost of the pay-per-ride card. Paying attention and proofreading are valuable skills in the marketplace. I wondered what other errors might have cost businesses and government agencies money and embarrassment that could have easily been prevented. Here are just a few examples that I found in my research:
- Proofreading errors have been made throughout history. The 1632 edition of the King James Bible left a word out that completely changed the meaning of the seventh commandment when that edition read “Thou shalt commit adultery.” The printer was fined for the mistake and all copies of the Bible with the error had to be destroyed.
- Tattoo artists are sometimes sued for negligence in misspellings that are permanently inscribed in flesh. This happens much more frequently than one would think.
- The University of Wisconsin gave its 1988 graduates diplomas that said “University of Wisconson.”
- Air Canada used luggage stickers reading “This Baggage Has Been X-Rated at Point of Origin.”
- Australian Publishing Company Penguin Group had to reprint a cookbook at a cost of $18,500 because a recipe for pasta called for “salt and freshly ground black people.”
- A trader on the Toyko stock exchange in 2005 was too quick to place his order and traded 610,000 shares at 1 yen each instead of 1 share at 610,000 yen. That mistake cost his firm $18.7 million.
- In 2010, a Chilean man authorized the production of 1.5 million 50-peso coins that misspelled the country’s name as “C-H-I-I-E.” The managing director of the Chilean mint was fired once the mistake was discovered. All 1.5 million of those coins remain in circulation to this day.
- In June 2010, the gift shop at Australia’s Parliament House unpacked a delivery of mugs that had been ordered to celebrate Barack Obama’s visit to Australia. The mugs, however, welcomed “Barrack Obama” in large letters. They lost approximately $2,000 in expected revenue.
- A new water tower in the city of Stoughton, Wisconsin, was painted with the word “Stoughon.” The contractor fixed his error free of charge.
- A clerical error in 2006 may have cost an Italian airline $7.72 million USD. They advertised a flight from Toronto to Cyprus for $39 instead of $3,900. By the time they discovered the error, 2,000 tickets had been sold and the airline had to honor the price.
Everyone is busy, but slowing down and taking the time to make sure what you are doing is correct is obviously well worth it.
It’s frightening when you see grammar/spelling errors associated with educational institutions. Whoever was in charge of this should have received a refund of a portion of their college tuition.
One of the funniest parts about this television schedule I found in a hotel room last weekend is that my granddaughter who is in the third grade is the one who found it. Perhaps she could get a job proofreading for the Hampton Inn!
Once again my television comes through! I was looking for something to watch and my programming guide caught my eye.
During a recent trip to Portland and the infamous Voodoo Doughnuts, I found this sign that, while it is a sweet remembrance of a man who was apparently a good friend of Voodoo, is rife with grammatical errors, including “Consutlant” rather than “Consultant” and the use of the ordinal figures in the date – which is incorrect when the date is complete with the year. I almost felt guilty even taking the picture, but not guilty enough not to share it with you!
I saw this in a little sandwich shop I went into recently. Yoda must have been in charge of signs that day.
From a friend. I love that I have friends from around the country noticing errors in signage. This one was seen on the MARTA train, the Metro Atlanta train system.
Besides the obvious capitalization problems, they’ve left out a word in the first bullet and have an unnecessary comma in the second. For all the world to see . . .
Thanks to my sister for sharing this one with me. So many things wrong with this sign.
Some that I notice right away:
- How can a photo be closed? I assume they mean photo DEPARTMENT.
- The comma is not appropriate.
- I’m not sure what “prolems” are, but imagine they are not as bad as “problems.”
- I don’t know about you, but I was always taught that proper nouns (like names of streets) should be capitalized. Apparently, this person was only taught to capitalize the first word in a sentence. The last sentence isn’t even a good sentence with all the words missing.
Having a sign with these many errors is almost worse than having no sign at all. Maybe I should make up a grammatically correct sign for them to use next time and drop it off. As long as their copier isn’t having “prolems.”
I made my friend Tara turn around during our trip to Seattle so I could get a picture of this one! The difference between Your and You are (You’re) is important! This would be so much funnier if it was correct!
A real example of how important proofreading is. This was sent to me by a friend who caught it before the document left her office, but both she and her boss missed it in the first few rounds. This is a mistake I make a lot. Can you find the error?