Saturday, December 16, 2017

99.99% Guarantee this will be the best thing you read all day!

It is a slow night manning the front desk of my library. Someone comes to me needing paper for our downstairs printer. I spring heroically into action! Ripping open the paper ream I notice a curious selling point on the wrapper:

99.99% Jam-Free Guarantee

This is a lot to think about, but first I have to put the paper in the printer. Then I have to answer the several questions that arise from patrons in even the deadest times when one is anywhere near the computers ("That's called your mouse." "You click here." "Might I suggest moving then to a less sticky computer."). Mission accomplished I can now return to the front desk. Now I can muse upon the nature of guarantees.

A guarantee only has meaning if it is absolute. Qualify it in any way and you have shattered your assurance.

"Hi. Your paper seems to have jammed in our printer."

"I'm terribly sorry, but it does that once every 10,000 times."

"But you guaranteed that it wouldn't."

"Yes, It didn't the other 9,999 times did it? Those were the ones we guaranteed!"

"Um, it seemed like it jammed more than just this time. It seemed like it jammed before."

"Oh, well, just call us back when it jams one of those other times. Those are guaranteed. 99.99%!"

"Okay then, I guess..."

This reminds me a bit of the weather. Regular readers will be appraised of how I am not keen on professional weather forecasting. Lately we have been getting a lot of unpredicted snowfalls. 

"Unpredicted snowfalls you say. I'm pretty sure we listed the chance of precipitation at 10%."

"But you do that every day!"

"Well sure, and ten percent of those days it snows!"

"You're keeping track of this?"

"Sure, probably, somewhere. I mean we have computers. Duh."


"It's science."

Which of course brings us round to the title of this blog post: 

99.99% Guarantee this will be the best thing you read all day!

You know what, caution to the wind, I 100% guarantee this is the best thing you have read all day!

"Really? That's brave of you."

"I know what is and what is not and stand behind it."

"Wow. Unfortunately, though I found it interesting, it isn't the best."

"I'm afraid you're mistaken."

"I'm mistaken?"

"Don't feel bad. Everyone makes mistakes."

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