Monday, November 12, 2007

This Blog Post's Rubbish Too

I've spent at least some part of every working day of the last month meticulously crafting the text of a promotional postcard for a new client.

The client - the CEO of a startup software company - and I have discussed the semantics and semiotics of practically every single word on this postcard. I've dished out my best professional advice on how he should position the company and its product to his target market of procurement directors in large companies. We've negotiated over the placement of Oxford commas and capital letters. I've tweezed out widows and orphans to make all the bullet points the same length. We spent an entire week debating the most suitable URL to put on it.

After four weeks of delicate discussions and tiny, incremental modifications, the thing was finally declared by the client to be perfect. It duly went off to the printers, to be printed and delivered to a huge conference in California where the client's product is being launched.

Where it turned out they'd only been printed on one side.

And it wasn't the side with the text on it.

Over the past ten years I've occasionally been troubled by the thought that my contribution to society isn't perhaps among the most valuable. That if I had never existed, nothing would have been much different. That in fact the world might even have been a slightly better place. Today was one of those occasions.

The Remote Cove Cake Hut suddenly looks like quite an attractive proposition.


devolutionary said...


Thank [insert deity here] it wasn't a mailpack.

Tim Footman said...


Might you be able to convince them that it's conceptual? An initiative test?

Valerie said...

Oh, crappity crap crap crap. I have definitely had very similar experiences. And they always suck.

I definitely like the notion of a Remote Cove Cake Hut. Actually you could make a mint selling real estate of that nature..

Dave said...

How many of us will be remembered twenty years after we are dead?

Some of us will be forgotten as soon as we leave the room. If not before.

Annie Rhiannon said...

What are widows and orphans? They sound typesetty (new word).

Sylvia said...

Erm, surely someone at the printers should have noticed?

wyndham said...

I was wondering about widows and orphans as well - is it a punctuation thing?

patroclus said...

I *think* it's the correct term for when a single word spills over on to a new line at the end of a paragraph, making the paragraph look untidy. Like the word 'client' at the end of the first para of this post.

I usually spend ages editing my blog posts so there aren't any - they're so unsightly.

Arabella said...

? You move words around and when you press publish they appear just where you want them to be? Blimey. I'll have the Blogger she's having.

All I can do is groan loudly and long in sympathy. Are you out of the foetal position yet?

entropy said...

Widows and orphans usually refer to single lines separated from the rest of their paragraph at the end or beginning of a column/page.

Though apparently widow can also refer to an uncomfortably short line at the end of a paragraph (which would cover the single words spilling over)

Annie Rhiannon said...

I'm not sure you can delete widows and orphans from blogposts because the space differs from browser to browser. But I understand if you just want it to show up like that on your computer. I do similar things.

GreatSheElephant said...

That hurts.

Not just for the printing problem but for the knowledge that if I'd quoted for that job I would have probably quoted for about 3 hours' work, i.e. less than £200.

Four feckin' weeks???????????

Some clients deserve nothing better than death.