For the want of a hape'th of tar, the ship sank.
At today’s exchange rate and taking inflation into the calculation.... you can do a much better job using a computer.

Humour in advertising has been shown to be very useful. Humour as satire has been used for millennia to bring down governments. It is therefore unfortunate that some South African companies do it to themselves by lax standards. The placing of signs that said: "No entry without authorization" all over a company's premises can be traced back to the IT manager, who said that the regional setting of the company's pc was not important. As a result of this inaction, all the spell checkers in the company use 'US English' by default. (US for me as an engineer has always meant broken or unserviceable.) This is how companies rot from the inside with thousands of small bites taken out of them. The effect is a reduction of the standing in the community and consumer confidence in that company. This has a very negative effect on that company’s good name. This is an ISO900x company. I think I should point out that ISO stands for International Standards Organisation. It is a global not an American organisation. It promotes a high level of standards in any professional company. It also promotes the use of metric measurements (m.k.s.) and non-y2k problematic date and time display (ISO8601). The last, another bone of contention of mine with SA companies. That company is not alone in South Africa. I have a supplier, also an ISO900x company, who thinks that you or your modem can be struck by 'lightening' in the summer. Maybe the MD has visions of bottles of face cream falling from the sky. What’s worse is that in both these companies, the high-level manager insisted that that was the spelling he wanted, when the spelling issue was raised with him.

We all laugh at the schoolboy bloopers in published exam papers. Even more so when we commit these transgressions ourselves. This is called "shooting yourself in the foot". These we used to spread to others by word of mouth in a one to eleven ratio. Nowadays this has a rapid propagation via email in vast quantities.

Holding yourself up to ridicule.

All companies suffer 'bad press' sometime or another. From my youth I will never forget the Gas Board in the UK sending a final demand for a small amount to a Householder whose house was electric only. Recently the first company mentioned above was partly responsible for a final demand for 70c. I should say "with menaces", as apparently the collection agency threatened to deprive the person from their house. You are not allowed to make fun of people in public. If you take a picture of someone in public in a compromising or bad situation you are supposed to get him or her to sign a release form. That’s why Candid Camera says, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera". But it is always allowed if you do it to yourself. So this is a 'non-visible' or protected criticism of those companies. After all the damage has already been done. Also if you haven't spotted the signs or the article in the press, I'm not going to make the situation worse for them.

Not looking after or correcting mistakes on a web site is another complaint of mine. Professional companies quite often have a web site on the Internet. It is usually there to advertise their products or services. So how do you feel about a 'broken' web site? The one I came across recently for a major SA Payroll also had the link to the webmaster broken, so I couldn't even email him! It frustrates the visitor and gives the company a bad name with you. Which of course, you tell on average 11 other people about. The site is still broken some weeks after reporting it to a director of that company. What impression of that company does that leave in your mind?

The New York police force started a policy of 'zero tolerance' for crime and made that city a much safer place for tourists*. Shouldn't we adopt a policy of zero tolerance towards the Americanization of our companies?

* (not the NY residents?)
Americanization MUST be stopped!

When the spellcheck cannot help you - don't bother to check the text...