I’m always fascinated by words that are frequently misspelled and expressions that are widely misused. Some may blame the mistakes on shared ignorance, but I think there’s something more insidious at work. I think mistakes are contagious. People who see the words misused lack confidence in their own knowledge and mistakenly believe that what they already know must be wrong.

And why is it that store and restaurant owners invariably ask employees who suffer from that contagion to manage the changeable-letter signs in front of their businesses?

As a result of those employees, I’m beginning to believe that America’s favorite poultry will one day become known as “CHIKEN.” I see it spelled that way on signs (even for national chain restaurants – especially Taco Bell, for some reason) and menus. I’m puzzled that so many employees get it wrong; I’m even more concerned that their managers and owners don’t notice such a glaring mistake.

Words on signs and menus send messages to customers and prospects. Make those kinds of mistakes, and the message they send is that you’re sloppy, uncaring, and/or incompetent. None of those things add value to your business. And believe it or not, but I’ll pass your door and do business with your competitor down the street. You see, I’m terrified that you’ll really serve me something called chiken.