September 4, 2008

Hot, Sexy Ducks

I'm the managing editor for a creative group that puts out hundreds of publications, product labels, and Web pages every year for a customer base that expects nothing but the best. So, let's just say that I know how it feels to discover an error on something you've published. It sucks. And it's amazing, considering how glaring some mistakes can be, that somehow 15 sets of eyes can all miss it. Then, someone says those fateful words, "Yep, go ahead. Start the presses!"

So, I'm feeling the pain this morning of whatever designer/editor/proofreader was ultimately responsible for a little error on the federal duck stamp this year. See below the story reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune this morning.

Duck Stamp Includes Phone-Sex Number
by Paul Walsh, Star Tribune

The federal government says it has no choice but to reluctantly keep distributing to millions of waterfowl hunters a toll-free phone-sex-service number that features a breathy woman promising callers that they can "talk only to the girls who turn you on" for $1.99 per minute.

About 3.5 million federal "duck stamps," featuring artwork by a Plymouth artist, are affixed to a card that bears the misprinted number, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wednesday.

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must buy and carry the current Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp, commonly known as the duck stamp. Sales of the stamp, which is produced by the U.S. Postal Service for Fish and Wildlife, raise about $25 million each year to fund wetland habitat acquisition for the national Wildlife Refuge System. The agency annually sells about 120,000 federal duck stamps in Minnesota. The stamp isn't valid for routine postage.

Rachel Levin, a Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, called the misprint, which connects callers to a phone-sex service, "an unfortunate typographical error" that her agency "really regrets." She adds that the agency will keep selling the $15 stamps with the naughty number because reprinting the card would cost too much.

The correct number, 1-800-STAMP24 (1-800-782-6724), is for people wishing to order additional duck stamps. Levin said two digits of the phone number are transposed on the card that holds the self-adhesive version of the stamp. That incorrect number, 1-800-872-6724, translates to 1-800-TRAMP24. Callers to "Intimate Connections" are warned that they must be 18 years or older before proceeding.

Levin doubted that the digits were purposely transposed. "As far as we know," she said, "it was just an error."

The stamps were produced by Ashton Potter Ltd. of Williamsville, N.Y. Messages left with Ashton Potter's executives were not returned.

Levin said reprinting the cards would cost about $300,000, and "that's a lot of money we could be putting into" conservation.

"The stamp is perfectly usable," she said. "It will just be a lot more interesting for people now."


"More interesting" is right. I think I'm going to use that excuse the next time we find a major error (which I'm really hoping won't be today). I can hear myself telling my communications director now: "That incorrect Web site I missed? Oh, won't it be a little more interesting and fun for our customers to figure it out on their own?" Yeah, that's going to work.

Oh well,
it's an amusing story. And, you never know, the stamps might become collectors items and sell out, which would be good for waterfowl habitat.

Even better, the bird depicted on the stamp reminded me that we've never discussed one of my favorite waterfowl species, the Northern Pintail. So, stay tuned for your very late Bird of the Week!


Patrick said...

1-800-HOT-BABE or 1-800-HOT-STUD, just wait for it on the next Health & Freedom Flip Chart!

doug said...

That's awesome. Of all the businesses those inverted numbers could have sent callers to, it had to be a sex line.

Kelly Branan said...

Amy, I'm starting to think that you post these racy stories just to increase the traffic to your site from search engines.

Rachel said...

Gives new meaning to the term tramp stamp.

Eh? Get it? Tramp STAMP?! EH?!

Am, I tried emailing you back but apparently Barracuda isn't letting my emails through... To sum up: Thank you!!!

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