Spoiling the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar

When I was about six years old, my Grandfather said something that I still remember to this day: “….spoiling the ship for a ha’p’orth of tar”. Having no real idea, I asked him what it meant, and he told me that it was an old sailor’s saying.

What it means, literally, is that omitting a ha’penny-worth of tar could render a £50,000 (or £50M) ship unseaworthy. What it means, metaphorically, is neglecting or omitting a small thing and thus destroying or compromising the value of something costly.

Given that our beat is words, I am, of course, talking particularly about business owners who spend thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of pounds on a new website, yet neglect to spend a few hundreds on a proof-reader or copy editor. Instead of making a good impression, they end up leaving their readers (or prospects) with an uneasy sense that their attention to detail is poor.

In three words, DON’T DO IT!!!

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