Mistakes such as “form” for “from,” or “your” for “you’re” induce smirks and raise eyebrows. However, some typos in professional writing induce knee-slapping laughter, gasps, or even…lawsuits. The following stories are true. I know this first-hand because I lived them as a writer and proofreader. Names have been changed to protect the guilty and innocent.
Joe Plumbing company had a website, proudly serving “all of New Jersey.” Chris the web designer made changes to this particular sentence on the site. The result was that they served “all of Jew Jersey.” There are many Jewish residents where Joe Plumbing is located. Consequently, he got hit with hate mail almost immediately after that typo posted to his site. The media company apologized profusely and refunded fees for the time that that shameful slur was up. He accepted the refund…then he talked about a lawsuit. Luckily, they were able to talk him out of it.
The proofreader, Stephanie, was immediately blamed for the debacle. Fearing termination, there were tears in the manager’s office when this situation was discussed. Shortly after, it was discovered that Chris the web designer made this change AFTER Stephanie had proofed the site. The proofreader kept her job, but was traumatized…
One incorrect letter caused tongues to wag about Joe Plumbing serving “all of Jew Jersey.” That was years ago, and I’m sure tongues are still wagging about it. And it made a proofreader cry! Has your mouth dropped to the floor yet?
An “s” accidentally got left off the word “assess” on a banking letter, making it “asses.” Fortunately, the proofreader caught it before the client saw it. However, letter recipients could easily insist that that was done on purpose if it reached them, in an effort to be cheeky about foreclosure. After all, “asses” falls into a “lewd and lascivious” category.
My points with these terrible typo tales? It’s mucho crucial to pass business writing through a proofreader. Embarrassment can be the least of a company’s worries if there are mistakes. Feel free to contact me with business proofreading needs. If not me, have someone give the document a good once-over. It’s sooo much better to be safe than sorry.
Have you witnessed or heard about some typos in a business setting that made you cringe? Please share; I open the floor to you.
Happy reading and writing, my friends!
Sean C. Wright is the author of the short story collection A Gathering of Butterflies and the novella Honey Riley. For more information about her writing skills and how she can assist you with yours–business or consumer–visit seanarchy.wordpress.com.
Send me your typo images! Snap pictures and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. They must be real pictures and not images in online links, as those might be doctored. I’m looking for The Real McCoy. Conceal the company’s identity if possible. No sweat if you can’t. I’ll hide the name before I post it. We’re not looking to embarrass, but to educate.