Help! The punctuation is escaping!

StrictlyI had a meeting with a client last week, where we discussed the tone of voice required for her two different businesses. We decided her B2B* audience required semi-colons, while her B2C** audience didn’t. It was interesting to be able to sum up the entire brief with just one punctuation mark.

We bemoaned the decline of the semi-colon in general, and went on to talk about other punctuation marks. As you do.

She pointed out that making “double quote” signs in the air is a quick way to annoy people.

I mentioned how the hash symbol has escaped from Twitter. Children in playgrounds say out loud: “Hashtag just kidding”. Presenters on TV make the symbol using the first two fingers on each hand e.g. Davina McCall. (Have you seen her do this?)

It’s a long time since the day I overheard someone on the phone saying: “What the ****’s the hash symbol?” (In his case, I suspect he had the other type of hash on his mind.)


First impressions are lasting impressions…


It was worth it when I got there.

These days, many things are becoming automated. Presumably, these innovations are intended to:

  • save the cost of employing staff
  • save time
  • give more ‘power’ to the people

But who do they really help? Often, it’s not the customer.

Case study 1

I’ve recently returned from an amazing trip to Greece. I flew out from the new Heathrow Terminal 2, where you now have to print your own bag tag.

However, there was no signage telling people what to do. I saw several people join the snaking line to reach the check-in desks as usual, only to be sent back to the bag tag machines.

Tempers were fraying.

There was a queue of people at each bag tag machine. But it wasn’t going well. There was one member of staff helping one customer while the others fretted and stamped their feet.

When I finally reached a machine to print my own bag tag, the machine screen offered me three options:


Skip to content