Rarasaur’s Prompt for the Promptless:

“A total Monet” is an expression used to someone or something that looks good from far away, but up close is a total mess.

  • This expression comes from the movie, Clueless.
  • It refers to the impressionistic styling of Claude Monet

Rarasaur’s suggested prompts:

  • Describe something in your life that is a Monet
  • Draw something that is a Monet
  • Write a story featuring a Monet
  • Make a list of some common total Monets
  • Defend impressionistic art
  • Share other important things you learned from the movie, Clueless
  • … or make up your own related prompt!


Well maybe this isn’t a true “total Monet”, but the first thing that comes to my mind is someone I used to work with years ago. I guess technically he’s still a co-worker, he still works for the same company, but he’s since moved on to other parts of the business. He used to be in charge of a project that consists of hundreds of phone agents making and taking customer service calls for a client. I was (and am) off on one side of that project, supporting its operation.

There is a particular statistic that is very important to our client and critical to figuring out if customers were happy or not. It’s a score, basically, ranging from zero to ten, usually rounded to the nearest tenth (so it would look like 7.2, for example).

At one point, part of my responsibilities was taking all the individual scores from the day before, determining an average, and posting it on a big sign so everyone could see.

Now, this particular guy that I’m referring to liked to play with the numbers. He would do whatever he could to make the numbers look better. He would take out or put in certain groups of agents, average averages, not average averages, round before or after averaging averages, whatever, all in an effort to make that number rise.

At that time, our goal was to be at a score or 8 or above, and the project had yet to meet that goal, on a daily basis or a monthly average. Well, one day, he sends out this email. To everybody, and when I say everybody, I mean people several levels above him, so we are talking about fairly high level executives of an international corporation employing tens of thousands of people.

And in this email, he’s talking about how our daily score was at 8! Amazing! We made a huge breakthrough in being able to meet our goal! If we can continue to be at or above goal on a daily basis, then we have a chance to bring our monthly average up to goal! Wow!

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Lots of people sent congratulations on all of our hard work, clap your hands and hallelujah.

I gave his email a read, then did my job. I gathered up all the scores from that day, and calculated the average. Then I did it again. One more time, just to be sure.

It was not at 8. It was close, but not 8. Something like 7.92, a number that anyone who learned basic rounding skills in middle school would round to 7.9 (Assuming you stop rounding at the tenth, which was what we did. And still do.)

Lovely. This guy told everyone and their dog that we finally met the goal, and anyone who looks at the actual numbers is going to see that we didn’t.

Whatever. Worrying about that was above my pay grade. I told my boss about the numbers I came up with, and moved on with my day.

So, if you just glanced at the numbers this co-worker of mine sent out, things look great. You don’t need to look closer, right? Except in this case you should. The truth might be ugly, but it’s better to deal with it than try to cover it up.

6 thoughts on “don’t look too close, except you should

  1. Hurrah for basic rounding skills! I see a lot of people not quite able to master that, though. I think a lot of company reports are total monets– “we sold a million records!” (subnote: “to ourselves”). 😀

    Great post! 😀


    1. 🙂 Thanks! You’re right about a lot of company reports being total monets, I’ve had to work through quite a few, this one was just one of the more memorable experiences.
      Also – pretty much any commercial or ad ever produced is also a total monet…


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