I know the kind of people who visit this blog, and – unless I’ve misjudged you all gravely – you’d much rather laugh at printed blunders than read one of my book reviews.
But for once my misjudgments really don’t matter. Because the best way to review Patrick Forsyth’s Empty When Half Full: A cantankerous consumer’s compilation of mistakes, misprints and misinformation is to let some of the howlers he’s dug up speak for themselves.
Thereby giving you the best of both worlds and making my job a whole lot easier.
Patrick describes Empty When Half Full as a book that “looks at how customers can be misinformed or confused, at how claims may be so poorly stated as to become a nonsense and how inaccuracies of every kind can paint a picture of an organisation the very reverse of the kind anyone would want to do business with.”
He’s right, but what he’s really done is collect together lots of glorious written nonsense that’ll make you laugh.
These are among my favourite examples:
“Sex is the main cause of population growth” (Optimum Population Trust website)
“If you do not have an account and wish to purchase haemorrhoids click here” (BMJ BestHealth website)
“Do not iron” (label on baby’s teething ring)
“Where progress is measured in pints – Volume 500ml” (Hook Norton Haymaker Pale Ale Label)
“Average contents 2” (Puma shoe box)
“Soaks up water like a magnet” (chamois leather label)
“NO FLAVOURS – We’ve done the hard work by removing each and every flavour from this product” (Asda Redcurrant jelly)
And my favourite one of all…
“Kills bacteria as well as the leading competition” (bleach)
That sentence alone gives you a good reason for hiring a decent copywriter. The rest of the book gives you a cast iron case for keeping a squad of them on permanent standby.
But I’ve just skimmed the surface. If you want more laughs, I suggest you do a couple of things.