Y’all, I’ve crossed over to the dark side. I am officially a pawn for my corporate overlords. That’s right, even though it’s not technically what I do here, I used my writing skills for my actual employer. But that’s not even the disturbing part. The disturbing part is that my company hired out the creation of their on-hold message, and what they got from Corporate Hold Messages Inc* was decidedly unprofessional, verbose, grammatically insane, and barely in English. Because so many of you are fans of our shared language and reading about misfortunes in the daily lives of the Buttercups, I thought I’d recap the whole damn hot mess for you.
Fear for the future of America after the jump!
To maintain the anonymity of myself and my employer (who deserves so much better than having some illiterate charlatan rip them off in such a way), I’ve changed all identifying info to that of an imaginary toy company. Under each number is an individual “paragraph”, the script CHMI* sent us is in all caps, with my analysis below.
- not the actual company name, either.
You know, I was going to come up with a logo for my fake toy company, but I don’t have time. So, picture something like this:
That’s what I was going for. Shuddup.
YOU HAVE REACHED HAPPY PANDA TOY COMPANY! WE’RE A SANTA-CERTIFIED TOY FACTORY THAT OFFERS TEDDY BEARS. WE’RE ALSO INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN FOR OUR VERY OWN LINE OF LINCOLN LOGS THAT WE MANUFACTURE OURSELVES HERE IN OUR FACTORY.
From the first, it was like, OMG, are you kidding? The line about the Lincoln logs exploded my skull out of my head. HOW could a company that specializes in making hold messages for corporations spit out something so redundant?
IN THIS INDUSTRY PRECISION IS A MUST! WE’VE BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT IN TOY MAKING SINCE 1905 AND WE LOVE WHAT WE DO!
Um, the message of loving what one does is not a crucial one to relay to the customer. I’m sure those AIG guys loved running their company into the ground and funnelling ill-gotten monies into offshore accounts, but that doesn’t make them a good company that people can trust. Just my nitpick, that.
WE’RE AN AUTHORIZED WARRANTY DECAPITATED-DOLL-MENDING FACILITY FOR MATTEL & MY LITTLE PONY JUST TO NAME A FEW!
Just to name a few of WHAT, exactly? Dangling modifier, much? This is so unprofessional it makes my eyes bleed. If you called a company and got a hold message that said something similar, like, “our facility stocks Mohawk, Dash & Albert, and Dwell, just to name a few!” would you know what the hell they were talking about? Those are companies that make rugs, and you were probably calling a flooring store, but still. I’d hang up and conduct my business elsewhere. It’s like, yeah, whoever calls my toy company should know that those are names of toy manufacturers, but its still BAD ENGLISH. I’d never attach my company name to such a fucked up sentence.
WE MEET OR EXCEED ALL INDUSTRY STANDARDS HERE AT HAPPY PANDA! GETTING THE JOB DONE RIGHT THE 1ST TIME IS WHAT MAKES HPTC THE BEST!
See, if there’s one thing I learned in my college media courses, it’s that you really shouldn’t make superlative statements like this (unless it’s a print ad, and you can back up your praise with sources in the fine print). Everybody does it, consumers have for decades seen it as dubious and tiresome and it repels more business than it attracts, so WHY do these copy people keep doing it?! Besides, “the best” at what, exactly? Don’t tell the customer “we’re awesome,” tell them WHY you’re awesome. The former sounds childish and misleading.
WE’RE CONVENIENTLY LOCATED AT 1234 RAINBOW ENEMA LANE…WE’RE NEAR THE COTTON CANDY FOREST METHADONE CLINIC. WE HAVE ACCOMMODATIONS FOR ALL SIZE INFLATABLE POOLS. WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE WHILE WE SERVE OTHER CUSTOMERS.
Notice anything? As with the first blurb, nearly every sentence begins with “We.” I don’t know about you guys, but my English teacher completely broke me of doing that sort of thing in my writing, oh, IN THE FIFTH GRADE. And I was living in rural Louisiana at the time, people. COME ON! Oh, and the phrase “here at _____” never sounds polished or correct to me. It sounds country, because the “here” is as extraneous as the “there” in “them there ____.” You know?
WHEN YOU TURN TO THE TEAM AT HAPPY PANDA YOU ALWAYS GET THE FINEST! WHOLESALE TOYS, TOY MENDING SERVICE & MORE! WE KNOW THIS INDUSTRY INSIDE & OUT! IT’S AN HONOR FOR US TO BE SANTA’S WORKSHOP CERTIFIED! THESE CERTIFICATIONS MEAN YOU GET QUALITY EVERY TIME!
Now, this doesn’t seem so bad, unless you knew the basics of the fake toy industry we’re using as our example. In the world I’m talking about, no toy facility can operate legally without being Santa’s Workshop certified. So basically, this part would be like a restaurant bragging, “We’re approved by the Health Department and we have a license to sell you booze, so when you eat and drink here it’s totally legal!” I’m really at a loss here. If we were to publish this dreck, we’d be the laughingstock of the toy world.
HOBBY HORSES, EASY BAKE OVENS, KALEIDOSCOPES & MORE! IT’S REASSURING TO KNOW OUR TOY MAKERS ARE UP TO DATE ON THE LATEST INDUSTRY ADVANCEMENTS. THRU YEARLY TOY MAKING SEMINARS-WE KNOW WE DELIVER THE BEST RIGHT TO YOU!
First, “thru?” Really? Moving on: This is the part where I remind you that I do not actually work for a toy factory. My business is extremely boring, sedate and serious in nature. Which is why all of these girlish exclamations are not right for my company and its parent industry. Re-read the above sentences as if they were talking about funeral supplies. That’s how out of place such gleeful chirping is here. “We stock embalming needles of ALL SIZES and we LOOOOVE WHAT WE DO!” Not. OK.
YOU CAN REST ASSURED THAT YOUR TOY STORE IS IN GOOD HANDS WITH HAPPY PANDA’S PRODUCTS ON YOUR SHELF!
I don’t know about you, but after those “is Daddy worried about money? No, he’s with AIG, so he’s really just thinking about butterflies” commercials, and after Allstate refused to pay out for nearly every Louisianan who had a policy with them after Katrina, the surest way to make a customer renege their trust in you is to tell them they’re “in good hands.” The toy company doth protest too much!
DID YOU KNOW THE TEAM AT HAPPY PANDA IS RECOGNIZED IN THE TOY INDUSTRY AS BEING SUPERIOR & THE MOST COST EFFICIENT!
Superior in what way? This company does a lot of things: buy toys, sell toys, fix toys. Which are we superior at doing? Who are we superior to? Also, cost efficient in what way? Do we use illegal Taiwanese child labor? Do we “cut out the middle man?” A promo should not raise more questions than it answers. This is elementary shit.
WE BRING YOU A 20-MINUTE WARRANTY ON ALL TODDLER’S TOYS & CAR SEATS! WE WARRANT ALL OUR BABY GATES FOR 21.5 HOURS TOO!
If you’re a copy writer hired to make a company look good and you even suspect that the warranty length is below average for the industry, be vague about it. HELLO! This script company was vague about everything else about the company and NOW they want to split hairs? When it’s a point that may drive away business if the customer knows another toy factory has a longer warranty? What the fuck?
BIG WHEELS, ETCH-A-SKETCHES & SO MUCH MORE. WE SELL DREIDELS AND SKI CAPS. WE GIVE THE SAME GREAT ATTENTION TO EVERY CLIENT! WE’LL BE RIGHT WITH YOU.
George Foreman, blades of grass, Kalamazoo! Square roots, mustard, and fonts! See, I can string together lists of things that have little or nothing to do with each other, too! Pay me! I don’t start every sentence with “we!” Someone will take your call shortly!
QUALITY MEANS EVERYTHING IN THIS BUSINESS & THE TEAM AT HAPPY PANDA WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN! PUZZLES, BOARD GAMES, BABY EINSTEIN…WE’RE PLEASED TO PRESENT YOU WITH QUALITY BEANBAGS TOSS GAMES, JUMPROPES, AND PLASTIC TIARAS.
More bland platitudes followed by lists of things that don’t exactly go together. ADD must be like, pandemic in the US right now.
WE PROUDLY SUPPORT A BAN ON CHINESE IMPORTED TOYS AND ARE PROUD TO BE A PART OF ENSURING CHILDREN’S SAFETY AGAINST THE SLANT-EYED “RED MENACE”! ALL OUR TOYS ARE FULLY BENDABLE GUMBYS. PLUS WE’RE A WARRANTY MENDING FACILITY FOR HASBRO AND TYCO JUST TO NAME A FEW! TO GET MORE DETAILS PLEASE REMAIN ON THE LINE.
I love how kids’ safety and lead-laden Chinese imports are mentioned in a totally throwaway line that still manages to be offensive and politically polarizing. The actual line was not this bad, but I promise you’d blanch if you saw it. It’s made worse by the fact that it’s a one-off sandwiched between more of that weird listing. I think this script was written by a drunk Colobus Monkey. “We’re illiterate and incompetent just to name a few!”
YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT WE HAVE LINED UP FOR YOU AT HAPPY PANDA! OUR TECHNOLOGY INCLUDES WALKIE TALKIE RANGES 1, 2 & 3 AND MOON BOUNCE HEIGHTS 1, 2, 3 & 4. DID WE MENTION THAT WE ALSO OFFER SPECIALTY TOYS LIKE THE RARE SNOOPY SNO-CONE MACHINES?
You won’t believe what our customers don’t give a toss about! Even in the toy industry, the average distributor may not know or care about walkie talkie ranges. This is the sort of esoteric stuff that should be on the website, because spoken word scripts need to be concise. Publishing this would be like a design company’s hold message reading off all of the Pantone colors they use. Zzzzzzzzz.
Oh, and “did we mention?” No, we fucking didn’t mention it. YOU wrote the script, so you know what “we” mentioned already. Don’t get cutesy with me, bitch, it’s retarded.
HERE AT HAPPY PANDA TOY COMPANY WE HAVE ONE OF THE LARGEST TOY FACTORIES IN NORTH AMERICA! EACH TOYMAKER HAS EXPERTISE ON ONE PARTICULAR TOY.
I know that specializing is a good thing to an extent, but saying, “our guys only do one toy!” sounds like an inefficient, bloated operation.
WE HAVE TOYMAKING ABILITIES ON MORE THAN 12 THOUSAND ITEMS! PLUS WE’RE ALWAYS ADDING NEW ONES! HULA HOOPS, SLIP’N’SLIDES, TRANSFORMERS…WE SERVICE PARKER BROTHERS GAMES AND LEGO. WHEN WE SAY WE DO IT ALL…WE MEAN IT!
Ugh. I’m tired.
AT HAPPY PANDA WE COMMUNICATE WITH OUR CUSTOMERS ON 2 LEVELS. FIRST, ON THE HUMAN LEVEL & THEN ON THE BUSINESS LEVEL. ON THE HUMAN LEVEL…WE SIMPLY WANT TO MEET YOUR TOY NEEDS! BUT ON THE BUSINESS LEVEL…WE WANT TO GIVE YOU THE BEST VALUE POSSIBLE FOR YOUR MONOPOLY MONEY! IF YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TOY REQUEST…JUST LET US KNOW. FOR YEARS TO COME, WE LOOK FORWARD TO SERVING YOUR PLAYTIME NEEDS! LEARN MORE AT WWW DOT HAPPY PANDA TOY CO DOT COM. WE’LL BE WITH YOU SHORTLY.
Oh yeah? Well I communicate with the toilet on two levels… I’ll spare you that explanation, so spare me yours about how business and customer service works. And, the “human level?” What the fuck is that? This whole script has been clunky, awkwardly-worded, and intellectually insulting to the reader/listener. It’s official, Tyra Banks wrote this. “The next level of how we communicate with our customers on levels that I’m going to call is…”
Needless to say, I put the whole thing through a translator (mah brain) and it’s in English now! Although I blog, which is a little bit lax on the language skills by definition, and I don’t pretend to be the best speller or grammarian in the world, I still make a goddamn effort. What you just read is fucking inexcusably lazy and lacking in any sort of talent or skill. I’m just so flabbergasted that this script company gets paid to “write” this garbled, unprofessional crap. Ugh. I’m tired. End rant.
Are all of your toys fully bendable Gumbys? Let me know in the comments!