Monday, January 26, 2009

Customer Service anecdote #23

I'm after a good wall map of the Caribbean, so I head to the island's leading stationery shop. I look for maps but fear I'm out of luck, until the big Caribbean map on the wall screams at me "This is just what you want!"

I find an assistant, three in fact, because multiple assistants flock together.

"I'd like the map, how much is it?"
A debate ensues amongst them. It's more like an reverse-auction, because the price comes down from $60 to $30 but stabilises at $35.
"Great, I'll take one please".
"We don't have any".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Tell Me Why, #7

Why is it that (at least here) people like to write the number, then put the numeral in brackets after. For instance, I might write in this post that "It took just two (2) hours to get my car fixed today". But I wouldn't, because what would be the point?

I understand the rule that small numbers are spelled out, while large numbers should be expressed in figures. But why on earth do both? Hedging one's grammatical bets? I heard once it was about catering for those unfortunate not to be able to read - at least they'd be able to see the numbers. Great, that's really helpful for the illiterate. To know how exactly many, but not of what.

So if you see posters around town, defaced, with the numeral scratched out but the number word left intact, you might know who's responsible...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Random thoughts 301 & 302

I was watching Dr Who recently; the episode was set 2,000 years in the future. So imagine my surprise to see the aliens hiding out in bog-standard 20th century shipping containers. Perhaps it was a statement on the near perfect design of a container, but I don't think so.

Another pet peeve: how every film that involves a sword fight or indeed any kind of blade uses the same sound effect - that long metallic 'shhhhhck' of deadly steel being drawn out of a sheath. A special mention must be given to the otherwise good film 'Jumpers', in which Samuel L Jackson gently unfolds a cloth to reveal a knife - accompanied of course by the inevitable long metallic 'shhhhhck' of deadly steel...

Update: Great video on the topic here: