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>Printers can be
>somewhat dense, and often do what they are told.
All standard printing contracts hold printers to exactly this standard (the doing what they're told part, not the dense part).
Printers learned centuries ago that they only get in trouble if they try to mindread the customer's wishes. The rule is "see an a, type an a" or, as a printer I once worked for put it, "if the manuscript says 'shit the door,' type 'shit the door,' not shut the door."
If you find a printer who takes it upon himself to correct the "errors" in your manuscript, find another printer.