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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More odds and ends

The right word

Don't you just love it when the right word is right there. And it's so right you don't even realize you are using it.

Tenacious Tess over at The Thoughts and Sarcastic Observations of a Starbucks Addict described a recent oh-no-why-me experience she had at a Walgreen's pharmacy counter, and it reminded me of a time I went in to a Sears Auto Parts store to buy a new set of tires. I told the clerk what size I needed and asked what they had.

He said they had two different tires. One was $78 per tire and the other was $102 per tire.

I asked what the difference was.

He said the second one cost more.

I asked why.

He said because it's a better tire.

I asked what the difference was again.

He said it was $24 more per tire.

I asked what makes it a better tire.

He said because it costs more.

I asked why would I want to pay more.

He said because when you pay more you get a better tire. The $78 tire is not as good.

I asked what made it not as good.

He said because it only costs $78.

I asked if there was anyone else there that could help me.

He said he could help me. Everyone else was busy.

S was with me. I looked at her and said "Let's go somewhere where they want our business because..." then I looked back at him and said , "You're useless."

Outside I was actually feeling proud of myself for staying so calm. I've been known to fly off the handle at times like that. So I said something to S about how reserved I was. She just laughed at me.

What? I asked.

You told the guy he was useless.

Did I? I asked. I couldn't even remember saying it. Then. Oh yes. I did.

More redundancies again where the writer says something more than once and repeats it ...you get the idea.

Here's a sentence I found today while I was editing:

In large doses, some vitamins have documented side effects that tend to be more severe with a larger dosage.

I'm just wondering how large these doses are getting to be.

When there's nothing there

Some writers just don't think what they're saying. But let me interject here first. I do a lot of work for hire editing. That's right. I'm a word whore. (Not an original term. Someone else gets credit for that.) That means I edit the writing of a lot of writers I don't hire. But maybe the good thing is, if any one of these people pitched a story at my magazine, I know what I would say.

Anyway, I was editing a user description for an article on a web site today. (The name of the web site in the following quote is totally made up. Hey! I have to keep eating.) Here's what the writer sent:

Dr. Feel Realgood explains which vitamins are health essentials for women of every age, from the early adulthood to seniors, learn what vitamins your body needs to stay healthy.

I sent this to S because she does this kind of work too. All I said was I needed to vocalize a scream that somebody heard. (I work at home alone.) She wrote back that she thought she'd try to help and do an edit for me but, "I tried to edit it for you, and that helped me realize how stupidly repetitive and empty it is."

I'm not trying to be mean to the writer. But S's response actually calmed me down. I went back to the passage, and realizing there was nothing there, came up with this.

Dr. Feel Realgood explains which vitamins are essential for a woman’s health at every stage of life. Learn what vitamins your body needs to stay healthy at any age - from early adulthood through your senior years.

Now I can sleep tonight.

(Don't forget to check out the spotlight. It's over there in the right sidebar.)


  1. I enjoyed your article, when I read it, I got enjoyment from reading it. Altogether an enjoyable article to read.

  2. Thanks, Vince. I appreciate what you said. In other words, I'm grateful. Glad you responded.

  3. I was totally going to say what Vince said, but he already said it. So that's all I have to say, except that I wanted to say what Vince said, but he said it already.

    Peace - Rene

  4. *grinning* Is that editing, or resurrecting the dead?

  5. And ohmy! I just saw your spotlight for the day. Thank you so much! *smooches*

  6. I struggle with repetitiveness all the time. I have to force myself to step back and re-read my stories before I post them. Yet I still miss so much. The thesaurus is my best friend.

  7. You are singing my song, Grandpa!!
    Aloha to you-
    ps: vince is having a laugh by demonstrating what you decry. LOL!

  8. That was cute. It's amazing how many useless retail people are out there!

  9. HA! Here's my useless salesperson story:
    My father wanted a new torque wrench for Christmas. My mom and I went to Russell's Home Store (In a rural upstate NY town; you could buy a manure spreader and order new kitchen fixtures without leaving the store. Very exciting).

    My mother said to the saleswoman: "My husband wants a new torque wrench for Christmas. But first, could you tell me, what is a torque wrench?"

    The saleswoman, without missing a beat, told my mother that a torque wrench "measures the degree of torque."

  10. Thanks all for coming by and giving me the chance to say I appreciate your being here because your presence makes me feel grateful. ;0)

  11. I had a tire experience which was remarkably similar to the one you described. The only difference is that, at one point, he assured me that it is perfectly safe to use 4 different tire sizes at the same time!

  12. Wow, Mariah. At that point I think I would have said something other than "you're useless."

  13. first of all the story about the tires. SO true. I don't get that kind of thing. Do they not hire someone with knowledge? grrrr. ;)