Acquired Error At the Printer

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Fictional print shops employ the most incompetent, negligent and irresponsible employees ever. Any poster, sign, handbill, brochure, pamphlet, leaflet, bumper sticker, T-shirt or fridge magnet they produce for their clients is going to have a mistake on it of some sort. You never know what the mistake will be, but it'll be embarrassing, or at least awkward.

There are few opportunities for these sorts of errors in modern printing techniques. Modern printers are sent a digital file to print or occasionally a hard copy to scan. These mistakes were more common when letters were laid out individually on a metal plate for printing. This is still possible with classified newspaper ads, though, since these are usually dictated over the phone or scribbled on a form and faxed to be manually typed.

This trope does not apply if the error was made on the part of the person designing the sign or poster, even if the designer works for a firm that offers both printing and design services.

Examples of Acquired Error At the Printer include:

Comic Books[edit | hide | hide all]

Film[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Babysitters Club: Kristy runs for class president and a radio station called BIG JOKE sponsors the printing of T-shirts reading KRISTY IS A WINNER, with the station's name printed on the back of each shirt to acknowledge them as a sponsor. The T-shirt company leaves out the word WINNER and prints T-shirts with KAREN IS A... on the front and ...BIG JOKE on the back.
  • In Good Omens, there is the "Buggre Alle This" Bible of 1651, where the typesetter replaced Ezekiel 48:5 with a rant complaining about his job. It also has three extra verses at the end of Genesis 3 about the loss of the flaming sword by the angel Aziraphale, added by Aziraphale himself, a character in the story.

"Buggre Alle this for a Larke. I amme sick to mye Hart of typesettinge. Master Biltonn is no Gentlemann, and Master Scagges noe more than a tighte fisted Southwarke Knobbesticke. I telle you, onne a daye laike this Ennyone with half an oz. of Sense shoulde bee oute in the Sunneshain, ane nott Stucke here alle the livelong daie inn this mowldey olde By-Our-Lady Workeshoppe. @*Ç¢@;!*" - (Ezekiel 48:5)

  • In The Truth, the dwarf printer makes a mistake when printing the first edition of the Ankh-Morpork Items and it comes out as Ankh-Morpork tImes. However, deWorde thinks that "times" sounds better and orders the printer to use the new name.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Golden Palace: Blanche orders pens for the hotel that read, "This pen is compliments from us to you." The printers leave out the space between "pen" and "is".
  • How to Be Indie: The Thanksgiving episode had the printers leave a decimal point out of the price on a poster, advertising a lunch that costs hundreds of dollars.
  • On Corner Gas, the Dog River Howler is often lampshaded as being completely unreliable, printing anything from small spelling errors (spelling 'barley' as 'barely') to out-and-out lies (announcing the town of Moosejaw getting an NBA franchise).
  • In an episode of Dad's Army, a printer mixes up photos of Corporal Jones (intended for a recruiting poster) and an enemy agent (intended for a Wanted Poster).
  • In Red Dwarf, Rimmer's parents were "Seventh Day Advent Hoppists", who hop every Sunday, due to a misprinted Bible wherein 1 Corinthians 13:13 reads "Faith, hop, and charity, and the greatest of these is hop."
  • On Parks and Recreation, Leslie's campaign team give the printer the URL of the graphic to print on her campaign signs, but they print the address itself instead.
  • Subverted in WKRP in Cincinnati. Herb has set up an ad campaign for Soul Suds Shampoo using Venus for a Celebrity Endorsement. To save on the photographer fees Herb took the pictures himself. Then the stand up display comes in and it's not Venus--it's Herb in a "Kiss the Cook" apron. It's Herb's fault, but he blames the printer.

Herb: [into the phone] You call yourselves printers? There were 50 photos of a black guy in a tuxedo holding a bottle of shampoo, and one photo of a white guy barbecuing, and you used the white guy! ... I don't care which photo I marked. I made the mistake and you people were supposed to catch it, that's what I pay you for. Don't you remember? I screw up everything! You should know that if it comes from me, it's wrong!

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • When Opus in Bloom County was working for the personal ads, an older male customer came in to complain that instead of "banking", his ad said he was into "spanking".
  • In Doonesbury, when Joan and Rick were about to be married, they had their wedding invitations printed by a professional invitation printer. Unfortunately, the printer committed two errors: a) Rick's name was printed as "Bick". b) The date of the wedding was printed wrong! Since the invitations were already sent, they had to send to everybody a correction note. And then the printer committed a third error: On the correction note the word "bridegroom" was printed as "bridegoon".

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Simpsons: When Homer decides to throw a bash at his house, he has invitations printed up.

Lisa: reading invitation "Come to Homer's BBBQ. The extra B is for BYOBB."
Bart: What's that extra B for?
Homer: That's a typo.

  • In Mission Hill, Posey, a newly established massage therapist, wonders why all her clients are perverted men expecting a massage parlour experience. It turns out that her classified ad, in which she'd promised "soothing relief", read "soothing release".

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The famous "Sinner's Bible" in which the "not" was left out of "Thou shalt not commit adultery."
    • There have been several others, including "The Printer's Bible" of circa 1702, in which Psalm 119:161 reads "... printers have persecuted me without a cause..."