Service of Sloppy

January 3rd, 2013

Categories: Post Office, Sloppy

I’ve noticed a rash of sloppy work lately so I had to share.

Snail Mail on Tranquilizers

Early in December I sent 20 Hanukkah cards with the return address on the back. I got back three-all addresses were current. I brought them to the post office at Grand Central Station and a postal worker covered up the bar codes and cancelled stamp art with white tape, making the poor little envelopes look as though they’d been to the hospital.

He also wrote in huge letters, TO on the face of the envelope and FROM on top of the return address label. He then handed the envelopes to one of the workers behind the desk. The next day I got one of these back. I guess that nobody explained to the folks at the post office that the side with the stamp is the one they should refer to.

One Short

In another instance, I heard a loud sigh of anguish at the office. A colleague, who had paid full price at a well known card shop that sells its own brand, came to the end of a box of holiday greetings and was one envelope short. Grump.

I buy my cards at discount stores and on occasion, one will have a print glitch. But I almost expect it. But if I pay full-retail, I expect to get what I pay for.

What Day is It?

An on-air radio personality, reading ad copy about a special promotion for Florida grapefruit and oranges with a deadline, finished with “order by Wednesday December 16.” He then said, “Wait a minute! In the middle of this promo I said Sunday December 16. What is it? Can’t anyone in the ad department look at a calendar?”

Have you noticed any such sloppy work lately?

6 Responses to “Service of Sloppy”

  1. Judy Schuster Said:

    You should see my son’s room. He’s living with us again, after losing his job. I’ve told him that if he messes up my living room I will kill him (painfully), but I forget about the room. It looks similar to that desk at the top of your note … floor, dressers, nightstand (which has eight empty cans of soda on it at the moment), and dirty clothes everywhere … as well as clean ones. I can’t even tell which clothes are clean and which are dirty. All I can do is pray he finds a job soon and moves out. Judy

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I am giggling–though I’m sure you are not–because your description is vivid and your writing style comedic, all the while the situation is serious.

    From what I hear, similar living arrangements are happening all around the country. It’s hard when adults must once again live together but thank goodness for your son that you are able to and do open your door to him.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    Like everything else in life, some “sloppy” is good. The term “neat freak” suggests an inflexible personality — no fun in my book! I am biased. I don’t function well without clutter, just as long as I know under what rock necessary items are parked.

    A caveat: This sort of thing does not apply to business dealings, bank statements and such, since laissez-faire in these areas hints broadly at irresponsibility. One must be selective in switching modes of operation. That’s what files are for.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    I work well in clutter yet am organized. No doubt a psychiatrist would know how this works. When clutter becomes ugly, I begin to toss paper and organize piles. I admire offices that run paper-free. I’m not yet there, though in the recent office move, I tossed so much that my colleagues keep asking me where all my stuff is!

    At home and in the office I keep things such as tape, pens and scissors in certain places. If someone uses these and returns them helter skelter and I can’t find them, that drives me nuts.

    My goal is that my clients don’t get sloppy work which doesn’t seem to bother especially big businesses today as long as they think that they save money and get away with it.

  5. Scott Ossian Said:

    I believe that society was considerably more hieratical in the past. Usually you got the quality you paid for. You paid cheap, you got cheap goods. You paid dear; you got “good goods.”

    In my more affluent days, I had a number of suits made for me at Henry Poole’s in London. They were of such workmanship, that a suit and a jacket I purchased in 1971 are still more than serviceable. I doubt that the firm’s current product would hold up as well, and, as well, it would cost far, far more than any price increase caused by inflation.

    Now, I believe whatever you pay, you are likely to get “dreck” than quality. Vendors’ attention is now far more focused on form (and profit), that substance.

    As I am neither a discerning consumer, nor an active provider of either goods or services, as a professional marketer, could you confirm that this is indeed the case and that most merchants and service providers today care far more about their bottom line than the quality of their product?

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    You ask a complicated question.

    To start, our early experience doesn’t match. Long before discount shopping was a sport and then a necessity for many, I was able to find value and style at fair price. There have always been marketers that, for example, charge $10,000 for a handbag and people lined up to buy them, often with waiting lists. Is a leather handbag worth this amount of money? Obviously yes to some.

    Poor quality at high price was the model for fashion at one of New York’s major department stores–once a newsmaking retail star. The idea was that its customers wouldn’t be caught dead in a suit or dress or ensemble for more than a year.

    That said, I don’t remember favorite wool sweaters from recognized brands getting holes from wear (moths don’t count) as I experience today after two years. Same with cotton socks.

    The trick for many is to collect fees and do little–those people have thrived for years and they remain very succesful.

    Workmanship has for eons been sloppy in construction in both city and country. I heard of someone charging $8 thousand to paint a living room (no special finishes) that has perfect walls–minimal prep work.

    Major phone providers seem to have fired trained, talented staff for cheaper, untrained labor who are mystified by the technology that’s key to repairs.

    I passed on a roll of paper towel at a local drug store with a $5 price tag. I pay $12 for eight giant rolls of the same brand in the same or bigger size. Is the drug store roll better?

    Consumers–whether they are businesses or individuals–must take care and be more discerning. My husband asked me where I bought a certain marmalade which he preferred to another (much more expensive) jar. The former one came from Trader Joe. The same thing can be said about agencies, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants–you name it.

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