Mighty Red Pen

February 12, 2009

Unofficial trashbags

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:53 pm
Tags: , , ,

There’s a typo in the Gloucester, Mass., pay-as-you-throw trashbags and the city has come up with an inventive excuse for it: they meant it to be that way.

According The Gloucester Daily Times:

The word “offcial,” misspelled on each $2 city-mandated purple trash bag, was stripped of its first “i” on purpose, the Department of Public Works has revealed.

“It was intentional,” recycling coordinator Kathy Middleton said. “In case anyone was going to copy them, we would know.”

Hatched on a “whim,” Middleton said the spelling plan had been kept a closely guarded secret within the department.

The offending bag (you have to squint to see the misspelling):


This story reminds me of the the Framingham State College fundraising letter that was filled with “blah blah blah” and which the administration defended with the same excuse. MRP’s official position? Perhaps the dog ate their proofreading.



  1. Er, why would anyone want to copy this horrible rubbish bag? And if they did, why would that be a problem?

    Plus, anyone with the means to copy a rubbish bag would surely also have the means to correct the spelling.

    Comment by JD (The Engine Room) — February 14, 2009 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

  2. To use the city’s trash service, you must pay a tax to get the trash bags. These bags aren’t sold at trash bag prices, but rather at trash service prices. Hence the possible desire of some person to forge the bags.

    That said, the idea that a misspelled word would trip up a forger is idiotic unless one assumes the forger is smart enough to correct the error but too dumb to realize that changing it might tip people off to the forgery.

    Comment by David — February 15, 2009 @ 5:17 pm | Reply

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