Buzzword Buzzkill—How to Turn Away Customers in Droves Without Even Trying

by Gail Z. Martin

Using all that alphabet-soup of abbreviations and acronyms can get you into trouble!

I saw this happen when I was in an elevator in downtown Charlotte.  We were in a high-rise building, not too long after 9/11.  And we were all there in our business suits, riding upstairs, and two guys behind me start talking.

One guys says, “Oh geez, Jim—did you get the BOM?”

The other guy says, “I don’t have the BOM, Pete.  I thought you had the BOM?”

Well it got really quiet in that elevator.  We were all holding our breaths.  I could see that people were doing these nervous little glances to the side.  I thought maybe someone would tackle these two guys.

And then I looked down and I saw that the men standing behind Jim and Pete had Men-In-Black-style government issue shoes….and I remembered that the FBI had an office in our building.

Apparently, that’s when Pete and Jim remembered, too.  And Pete said….”Uh, we work for First Union’s Accounts Payable department and that’s a Bill of Materials…..B-O-M…..paperwork, you know?”

It’s a lot funnier now than it was at the time…and I bet Pete and Jim never forgot it, either! But it goes to show you what kind of trouble industry-speak can get you into.

 

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