How to Make Scrapple Less Appetizing

Posted: October 8, 2009 in Business, Media, Misleadership, PR and News
Tags: , , , ,

Have you ever eaten Scrapple? It’s gastronomically ghoulish, made up of pig or hog offal (liver, heart, head, and anything else left over) that’s smashed into a mushy paste, sliced and then fried on a grill slathered in fat.

I know, I know, you’re wondering  what could possibly make something that good tasting that’s also good for you be any less desirable?

The answer is:  Hoovers.

I was doing research the other day on Jones Dairy Farm and banged into the Hoovers profile for the company. You can read the public profile here. In that profile, Hoovers says that

The links on this company’s Web site are of the edible variety. Jones Dairy Farm produces sausage, bacon, ham, and more…In 1981 Jones Dairy Farm acquired Ralph and Paul Adams, Inc., which markets Rape Scrapple.”

Rape Scrapple?

Now some of you may know that I’m a mostly vegetarian, except for one day a year when I gorge on Hot Pastrami at Katz’s Delicatessen in NYC for my birthday, and maybe the occasional classic hot dog from a classic hot dog stand I may come across in my travels. But before I met my wife and became a vegetarian, I’d never met an animal I wouldn’t happily eat. So my vestigial meat-eater’s senses perked up when I read “Rape Scrapple.”

I had to know what tasty extras they put into ordinary Scrapple to make it into Rape Scrapple.

Alas, the truth is that the only way to make  Rape Scrapple is through typographic error.

It turns out that Ralph and Paul Adams, Inc. make Rapa Scrapple, not Rape Scrapple, and have since 1926. In fact, according to their website, they are the largest producer of Scrapple in the world. The name Rapa comes from taking a little bit from Ralph and a little bit from Paul and mixing them together, in not too dissimilar a way from the way they make the Scrapple portion of Rapa Scrapple.

Searching on Google turns up numerous repetitions of the Hoover’s Rape Scrapple error, passed blithely along to unsuspecting searchers by Answers.com, numerous contacts on DemandBase.com, AAAA’s Smartbrief, and of course, the ever popular but highly dangerous varta.rr.nu/germany-dialing/xionghim (NOTE: Don’t check this out: it’s a reported attack site!!!)

I think it’s safe to assume Hoovers made the first typo, and it was simply picked up by other companies that reference or license the Hoover’s information, since the Hoovers free profile says:

“Produced by Hoover’s in-house editorial team, the Company Description tracks ownership transitions, company progress via mergers and acquisitions, major growth milestones, and strategic initiatives, to provide a holistic view of Jones Dairy Farm’s evolution in the marketplace.”

Clearly Rape Scrapple is just a typo. Somebody inadvertently changed an “a” to an “e.”

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal is that Hoovers is a D&B company, and their stock in trade is corporate research. Hoovers made the mistake, and then they failed to catch it, and  it got picked up and repeated across the Internet (where it will most likely stay forever) by people who have reason to trust Hoovers to get it right.

Now I’m not suggesting that some potential investor or business person doing their due diligence will choose not to invest in or do business with Jones Dairy Farm because they make Rape Scrapple.

But can someone please explain to me why, if Hoovers can’t catch a simple error like this, we should trust them to get the financials correct? Or the media spend?  Or the annual sales?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to microwave a Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Sausage Patty and pretend it’s Scrapple. It’s not the same, but then again, maybe that’s a good thing.

Comments
  1. Faithful Reader says:

    Your point is well taken. I would observe in addition that in this day of computer “spell check” options, this type of error is all too common. After all, Rapa isn’t a word (except in Rapa Nui) and rape is, so perhaps many are relying too heavily on spell check and not enough on good old fashioned proof reading? Just a thought…

    F.R.

    • jlsimons says:

      I agree that spell check leads to contextual errors all the time (there instead of their, for example) but I think they had to go out of their way to miss this one. Although sometimes people don’t check capitalized words, so on second thought you’re probably right. But spell check won’t catch numerical errors at all, so don’t you think their live eyeballs should have picked this one up? Speaking of eyeballs, I wonder if they put them in Scrapple? Thanks again for the comment, FR.

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