Let’s Add Excitement!

A couple of years ago I decided to upgrade from my 1950s-era Singer Featherweight sewing machine to a new, state-of-the-art computerized machine. I shopped around and decided to buy my machine from a local shop to support the local economy. I would have to imagine that sewing machines fall into that “durable goods” category, like refrigerators and washing machines, and don’t get replaced all that often, unless you are a serious seamstress. Mine is only used for the occasional Halloween costume, repairs, or fit of optimism.

Since my purchase, every few months I get a newsletter in the mail, alerting me to all types of Fabulous! New! Exciting! Machines! and Classes!

Check out just the first page of the newsletter (names blanked out) and see if you can determine why there are 10 exclamation points needed on this page? Perhaps it’s to get people like me excited about the possibility of what you can do with these machines — and some of them are just incredible. But really, if I had two grand to drop on a machine, I don’t think the extra punctuation would make a difference in my decision.

Of course, there’s a lot more I could say about this newsletter, but we’ll leave it here for today!



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3 responses to “Let’s Add Excitement!

  1. Kathryn

    I find myself falling into the exclamation point trap in online communications. I think the problem is that it is the only punctuation mark that allows one to express mood, so writing without punctuation points feels flat and distant and you are tempted to use it to express warmth or interest or excitement that would otherwise be conveyed by your tone of voice. Admittedly, you would think commercial speech would work differently, but I suspect it doesn’t. . .particularly if the shop owner is the one writing the advertising copy. [urge to use exclamation point resisted]

    What I find entrancing about that flyer is the 99.9%/0.01% explanation. What do “extremely rare” and “necessary” mean in this context? What they’ve actually said is that one–and only one–out of every thousand creative specialty classes will require you to pay. While “99.9%” functions as a synonym, in casual communication, for “nearly all,” when you make an offer to the public it snaps back to its mathematical meaning. If the shop owner didn’t write that flyer, s/he needs to hire a new advertising agency.

  2. Kathryn

    Sigh. “writing without exclamation points,” not “punctuation points.” Why you should always proofread BEFORE you hit “submit comment.” And if there are any others, I’m going to ignore them.

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