By Rich Figel
Mistakes happen. As much as I pride myself in catching typos and errors before we output the finalized version of our Career Changers TV show, stuff slips through. Such was the case in the current episode when I misspelled the name of a local author/children's book publisher. Even though I had her business card on my desk while I edited the piece, I added an "e" to the end of Kerry Germain's name in the lower third on-screen graphics.
The problem was I discovered my mistake after we had already delivered the finished show to OC16 for airing. I had probably reviewed that one segment at least two dozen times, and my eyes just skimmed over the extra "e" ... until I uploaded it to the CCTV YouTube Channel and realized her name didn't look right. Without going into all the specifics, it would have taken hours to make that one small correction and redo the entire output, then ask OC16 to hold off on running the new show until I could deliver a revised file. My alternative was to tell Kerry the truth before it aired and apologize profusely. So that's what I did.
Perhaps because Kerry is in publishing and knows how even experienced proof-readers can miss a typo, she was gracious and told me not to worry about it. But to be honest, that entire morning I had a sick feeling in my stomach. It bugged me, especially since I expect people I work with to use the same kind of critical eye when I hire them to do something. Yet lately I'm finding a real lack of quality control in everything from local contractors to national big box stores.
I've been largely silent about my home remodeling projects the past month -- actually two months now, since it took over four weeks to get one small bathroom semi-finished, and the upstairs bathroom isn't even halfway done. The windows that were replaced by another outfit were all right (after finding out there was a $300 delivery charge that wasn't included in the original price quote). We also had our kitchen tiled... half looks good, the other half looks like crap because the tile we got had a lot of "fill" and black spots in it.
This is what I mean about quality control. Neither the contractor nor the tile guy he brought in seemed to notice that there were a number of "bad" tiles in the batch we bought from the big box home improvement store. Which might explain why that tile was on sale to begin with. The tiles on top that showed through the box looked fine. Inside though, were the ones with major imperfections. If you were laying tile for someone, wouldn't you stop and show it to the homeowner or contractor who hired you?
We had similar problems with other products that were made locally. A counter top for the bathroom vanity and cultured marble wall panels for the downstairs bath, both had black specks and obvious color imperfections. Yet the contractor still installed them without bringing the flaws to my attention. I also noticed a black speck on the rim of the new toilet we bought from another big box store, which I thought was dirt at first. But it was in the porcelain -- it looks like a tiny fleck of dried poop! Did the contractor spot it when he took it out of the box? Guess not. Did the plumber notice it when he hooked it up? If so, he didn't say anything. I don't mean to sound like a nit-picker, but when you spend thousands of dollars to upgrade your home, I think you're entitled to get what you paid for.
It's gotten to a point where I don't even want to think about hiring local contractors to do any more work around my home, and I'm wary of buying any product from any store unless I can take it out of the box and examine it from top to bottom before I pay for it. The sad thing is I think this is a reflection on the state of manufacturing and customer service in America at large. Instead of taking pride in superior workmanship and making quality control job number one, it seems like buying American -- or local for that matter -- is settling for just being "okay."
And to think adding an extra "e" on a name for a segment we did for free, made me feel like I really screwed up big time. Silly me. In any event, you can see the feature on Kerry Germain and Island Paradise Publishing through next week on OC16. She recently published a charming children's picture book called "Plenty Saimin" by my writer friend, Feng Feng Hutchins. It's a very nice story about two moms, who turned their writing dreams into reality.