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.