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Fake Fans, Fine Flubs and Ferrets —Cagle

November 2010
The news pages have been absolutely dreadful the past few months, especially October. Reports that we have long-since exited the recession don’t seem to be providing any positive bounce for the industry, and a number of printers have found themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Instead of dwelling on their misdeeds, let us turn our heads to eastern lands for a look at what’s going on around the world, B&P style. We won’t be casting any aspersions, rocks or disapproving glances, but it may prove to be of some comfort to look at international foul-ups for a change.

Just prior to the baseball playoffs, several players from the apparently not-so-loved Tampa Bay Rays were fuming that there were far too many empty seats on most nights, despite the fact that the team qualified for the postseason. Perhaps the team should take a page from the book of Triestina, an Italian soccer team that found a way to fill their empty seats via a little printing ingenuity.

When aggressive marketing and a winning product on the field just ain’t cutting it, Triestina took the ersatz road to success. The organization decided to print out 2-D images of fans on giant sheets of vinyl, which were then stretched out over sections of empty seats. The idea behind the move is that it creates the illusion of wall-to-wall soccer enthusiasts for the 65 or so people watching the game on television.

Another perk: Fake fans don’t require attendants, vendors or medical personnel, so the team is able to reduce its staff on game days. So the question is: Would you serve nonalcoholic beer to vinyl fans?

ANOTHER FINE MESS: Sometimes it’s better to admit a mistake has been made and just move forward, particularly if rectifying the gaffe is even more costly.

The Durham County tourism office in the United Kingdom had a little egg on its face after printing 50,000 copies of a brochure that claimed early 20th century comedian Stan Laurel was born in that county (Bishop Auckland, to be precise), the London Telegraph reported. Problem: Laurel was born in Ulverston, Cumbria. Consult your Google maps to find out how far off they were.

There’s a statue of Laurel in Bishop Auckland’s town square, touting the fact that he had lived there during his youth. Despite being baptized at St. Peter’s Church and schooled at King James Grammar, both in Bishop Auckland, Laurel was indeed born in Ulverston, Cumbria. Oops.

The urban legend will be perpetuated for a while longer, unfortunately. The tourism office will not be going back to press due to funding restrictions, according to the Telegraph. Perhaps Durham didn’t want to waste the brochures because they were printed on hardy stock. (Insert rim shot.)

A corrected version could go out next fall.

RAT PACK PRINTING: No matter where you work, there’s sure to be an annoying weasel or two that you just wish you could stuff under a press. But at Oxfordshire Print in the U.K., they endured a more literal situation with a runaway ferret bringing things to a halt.

Someone’s apparent pet ferret found its way inside Oxfordshire Print in September and hid, first underneath a table, then a press, according to the Oxford Times. Sadly, four workers—including a sales manager—spent 20 minutes trying to catch the critter. Now, the sales manager not doing anything productive for 20 minutes...that’s hardly breaking news. But work on leaflets and booklets came to a standstill while employees plied the skinny rat with food and water. 

The creature was captured and placed in a cat box, the Times reported. Employees believed the ferret was someone’s pet and that it had wandered away from home, as the animal was not aggressive. More details as warranted.

ON A SERIOUS NOTE: An accident at a paper mill in the U.K. caused a contract worker to have his leg amputated from the knee down. The worker was hurt while replacing a press roll at an M-Real paper mill in Kelmsley, Sittingbourne. He was transported by helicopter to a local hospital for treatment of severe open wounds, at which point the leg was taken.

A four-ton press roll was being lowered when the incident took place. An investigation has been launched to determine how the accident occurred. PI

—Erik Cagle



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