The mischievous phrasing of “save up to XX percent”

As a metrics wonk, this abuse of numbers bothers me. I published a post today that quoted a consultancy’s claim that you can “save up to 90 percent” of some alternative course of action.

Diet sheds up to 100 pounds! Earn up to $2,000 a day! Pass over up to 95 percent of your competitors!

Data analysts and marketers should not tout extremes. They should give medians and averages. “Up to $100 an hour lower rates” from firms is more realistically stated as “A median reduction of $21 an hour.”

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