Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Stupid signs and announcements


Full on rant mode today, I'm afraid. It's about the stupid signs and announcements that constantly disfigure everyday life. They are bossy and intrusive and seem to follow the premise that people are sheep and need to be herded.
Announcements first. I spend a lot of time on public transport and in particular on trains. I usually sit in the quiet carriage if possible. Largely people observe the rules as to quietness. The train operators do not. Instead they keep up a stream of intrusive PA announcements. An announcement saying when the next station is imminent is fine. Announcements plugging the overpriced and under-appetising online catering is not. Nor am I interested in the name of the customer services person or where they happen to be on the train at that very moment. Most people have the wit to take their possessions with them on leaving the train unprompted. I can get by without being thanked for 'choosing' to travel with whoever it is or the hope that I had a pleasant journey. London Underground is even worse. At rush hours the major stations have some cattle herder with a hand held device linked to the PA system who keeps up a stream of hectoring exhortations and invitations to do the bleeding obvious for the benefit of 'customers'. 'Move right down inside the cars (sic) and use all available spaces' goes the endlessly repeated mantra. Genius! Who would have thought of that?
Pointless signs are almost as tiresome. I recently read of a restaurant which fell foul of the health and safety inspectorate. The issue was not hygeine or work procedures, which were exemplary. The complaint was lack of 'signage'. In other words this extremely well-run establishment fell foul of some jobsworth who wanted to see notices festooning the walls, no doubt labouring the obvious as usual. I recently had the dubious privilege of visiting HM Young Offender Institution & Remand Centre Feltham to give it its full title, a place I often fantasise about visiting with a wrecking ball. I used the gents in the visitor centre. Over the sink was a notice. It was detailed as to its text, with added illustrations. It was titled...
HOW TO WASH YOUR HANDS
The temptation to beat my head against the wall was practically irresistible.

7 comments:

Law Minx said...

Health and Safety has been allowed to run mad, I tell you, MAD! Signs and announcements nothwithstanding , what about those missives on food packaging intended to avoid the unintentional commision of a tort,but which, if read attentively by the hapless consumer instantaneously dismisses the appetite and produces a migraine?!
I venture, as evidence, the obvious classic:
(On a packet of cashew nuts) "WARNING: this packet MAY contain nuts" (MAY?????)

Ron Knee said...

I fully concurrrrrrrrrrrrrrr with the above.

Cheezy said...

A while ago I saw this very strange notice in the toilet of a restaurant/bar in New York City... It said:

"Staff are reminded to wash their hands before going back to work".

Staff? are reminded? Sheesh, thanks for bringing up the possibility that a member of your staff will choose to ignore this notice, dude!

Great post. And I totally agree - I reckon if you need reminding of most of this stuff then you probably shouldn't be out-and-about in the community in the first place.

white rabbit said...

Ronald, Cheezy - thank you for valued support ;)

Minx - health and safety has very little to do with health or safety and a lot to do with being anal about what might cuase insurers to cut up rough.

Oh and I was in Sainsburys a few weeks ago. I notiiced a clear plastic container with running water. I went to investigate. It contained live clams, which is nice. On the container was a sign:

CAUTION: INCLUDES SHELL

Clams have shells? Would never have guessed...

Android said...

I was told that in Germany you are strongly advised not to eat shoe laces!

Law Minx said...

Is the eating of shoelaces commonplace in Germany?!?

Android said...

Apparently is has happened before, and I presume the shoe lace company got sued for not making it explicit enough that shoe laces aren't edible!