It's funny when people don't understand what they're selling

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Chip Down
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Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

It's funny when people don't understand what they're selling

Post by Chip Down » November 22nd, 2020, 2:31 pm

Imagine you're looking at a piece of machinery, and the salesperson proudly boasts "this instrument panel has twelve gauges". You count them, and insist there are only eleven. Salesperson counts, and discovers you're right. They consult their engineer, who facepalms, and groans "again?!" and points out that the literature says the instrument panel is twelve-gauge sheet metal.

Now, think of that analogy when you consider a couple hiking examples:

Boots are often described as "has X grams of insulation". No, no, no! The boot features Xgram insulation, meaning X grams per square meter (or maybe yard for some mfrs, but it's the same principle). I've seen some insulation manufacturers make it even more clear, marking their product Xgsm, which is less likely to be misunderstood. Even somebody who doesn't know this should start to wonder how a boot can have X grams of insulation regardless of size, and they should also ponder how it's even possible for a boot to have an extra 200g of insulation added. I mean, 200g of insulation is a lot! Some winter boots feature 1200g or more. Think about that, how would it be possible for a boot to feature 1200g of insulation, in addition to the other materials?! But wait, there's more. I used to see boots marked (on the actual boot) 200g, or 200 gram, but now I'm starting to see "200 grams" on the actual boot. Imagine what a consumer thinks when they look at a boot and see "200 grams", and then they notice a half dozen other boots marked "200 grams".

Next gripe: The head of an ice axe can be investment-cast. So, we might say it's investment-cast stainless steel. But somebody writing catalog copy might know about investment-grade metals, and assume that's what's meant, so they make a "helpful" correction: "investment-grade stainless steel". Now wait a minute. What the heck is "investment-grade stainless steel"? And if there is such a thing, why do I want it on my ice axe?

I suspect a lot of this is the result of outsourcing to offshore manufacturers. Used to be things were made in a factory in Wisconsin, and the company's offices were on site. People knew what they were making on the factory floor, and business functions were integrated. Now we have some dude with a history degree sitting at his kitchen table plinking out copy for products he's never even held in his hand. Plus, people are just stupid.

Aimless
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Re: It's funny when people don't understand what they're selling

Post by Aimless » November 22nd, 2020, 7:42 pm

Now we have some dude with a history degree sitting at his kitchen table plinking out copy for products he's never even held in his hand.

As an ex-technical writer, I can assure you that this is not the fault of the dude at his kitchen table, who only represents the unwillingness of the management to either pay someone for their established knowledge base, or train that writer in the jargon of their trade, or else provide them access to a reliable source of information who could explain such details to them. I was lucky in my employer for a long time. They valued my work, right up until another company bought them out and I quit over the iniquitous changes that this takeover brought in its train.

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Kay Burton
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Re: It's funny when people don't understand what they're selling

Post by Kay Burton » December 3rd, 2020, 5:57 am

That's right, problems in the description are encountered due to insufficient study of the issue by the person who writes the texts, as well as poor quality checking of the written. After all, the customer must check for the performer what the performer is doing. At the same time, there is even more fault of the customer, since he gives the task, he controls the quality of execution. In fact, the performer does not care how his text will look there, especially if the pay for the work is not high. As a result, we have such nonsense in the description.

johnspeth
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Joined: July 30th, 2013, 8:33 am

Re: It's funny when people don't understand what they're selling

Post by johnspeth » December 3rd, 2020, 8:11 am

I call this globally pervasive problem "The race to the bottom". It's almost always misguided profit motivated.

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