Saturday, August 24, 2013


If you have read my blog recently, You can see that I have been using my phone camera.  I posted about the signs at the Trayvon Martin rally in downtown Columbia and different bumper stickers from around our area.  I don't don't claim that they are examples of good photography.  Not at all.  But it is now a simple process to capture little images quickly.

Recently I have been interested in the little signs around us, especially the text that gives directions about the obvious.  I realize that we live in a very litigious society, and that if you didn't put a CAUTION!  CONTENTS MAY BE HOT! reminder on a styrofome cup, you might be sued if someone spilled the contents of said cup into their crotch.   I guess it's happened.

Here are some interesting pictures from a public restroom.

I appreciate the reminder that we should stay with our babies when changing them.  Because if we weren't warned with this notice, we might just leave them there.  Some people might continue their shopping, perhaps go buy diapers if they found themselves in a sticky situation without any in the diaper bag.  And it's a friendly enough notice.  It has a smaller font, no exclamation point.  It has the (...) to sort of soften the message, as in...  Just a reminder... you may have thought it was OK to walk away and leave your infant on this table... where he/she could roll off onto the filthy cement floor... or be taken by a stranger, but, just a reminder... don't be an idiot... 

I like this one because I only like to use a PROFESSIONAL paper towel dispenser.  None of those amateur paper towels for me.  After all, I went to college.  I am a professional.  It's good to know that I am respected as such, even in the restroom.  I appreciate there are no written directions here.  They respect us professionals enough to realize that you just push the little lever down to receive the paper towel below.  It seems to me that by offering no less than the PROFESSIONAL model, it shows that they really care for their patrons.

I'm not sure that this one demonstrates the same respect.  The Piggly Wiggly Risk Management folks went to a lot of trouble to break down and explain all of the complicated steps of hand washing.  I wonder who wrote this.  Who edited it?  How much did they get paid to craft this fine set of directions?  Not only do they have extremely clear written directions, there are simple but effective diagrams of the entire process, followed by the various activities, after which one should wash their hands.  I'm pretty sure that this sign is read by an average of 0 citizens per day.  I mean who DOESN'T know how to wash their hands?

Sadly, I am not sure it is very effective since about half of the guys I share restrooms with don't wash their hands before exiting.  And I am left there wondering how many have touched the door handle before me who haven't washed their hands.  I usually try to get a towel from one of the professional dispensers and use that to open the door.  Then I'm left with the towel when I am outside the restroom.  Do I put it in my pocket? (Yuck.)  Leave it in the shopping cart?  (That would be yucky for someone else.)  Carry it around until I see a trash can?  It's complex, you know?  I just want to be a good citizen.  But at least the management has done their part with the directions and all.  Maybe they should have one of those loud beepers that signal the management when someone hasn't followed the proper hand washing directions.  You know, like the ones that are used to deter shop lifters.

Warning signs and stickers are important too.  Like this one on the back of a boat near where the gas goes in.  Seems to me that this one is particularly effective.  It has the FIRE/EXPLOSION icon along with the universal symbol of a guy running for his life.  It has the WARNING in caps along with the exclamation point within the triangle.  It contains lots of important DANGER words, words that should elicit a visceral safety response.  Any action that could cause DEATH is likely to get the user's attention.

Here is a common one, helpful to those who don't realize that you can't mail a letter or (much more likely) a bill payment, without putting a stamp in the corner.  But if you think about it, everyone has a first time mailing something, right?  Maybe he or she hasn't ever had the proper instruction about the mail service.  The more I consider it, the more I am glad of that little reminder that there is a charge for mailing my check in to the power company.

This one fits into the same category of - Duh, do you really think I need to be told that?  This little screen comes on every time we start up our van.  Do they think that the drivers of this van will obey traffic laws and pay attention to the road more conscientiously if this flashes on?  There is even a little place to press (ACCEPT) indicating that you pledge to follow this sage advice.  And do people ever read the navigation manuals?  And what if I don't ACCEPT?  What if I stubbornly refuse to make the pledge?  What if I never ever read the manual?  Nothing.  It shuts off after a few seconds even if you don't accept your responsibility to obey traffic laws.

This one is my favorite.  This little sign represents some serious paranoia.  Especially when you consider that it is in front of an empty lot.  There is nothing to steal, nothing to break into, nothing to vandalize.  Nope, just grass and trees and weeds and rocks.  There are no cameras there.  That's a bluff.  NIGHT VISION VIDEO SURVELANCE [sic].  Yeah, right.  This guy (I must assume it was a guy, although I guess I shouldn't be sexist... It could have been a woman I suppose) went to great lengths to craft this sign.  He used CAPS, RED COLORED TEXT for emphasis, bold lettering, underlining for effect, he laminated it to keep it fresh (although that doesn't seem to be working well).  And the use of the word Survivors in the last line?  Well played.  He should have paid attention to his spell check though.

What's interesting is that a couple weeks ago, when Heidi and I were out for our walk, we saw the owners of this property with their truck and trailer.  They were unloading their tractor getting ready to mow.  All of their gear was parked on their neighbor's lot!  Lucky for them the neighbor's don't have the same attitude about private property.  Otherwise they might have been detected with SURVELANCE [sic] and would have been lucky to count themselves among the Survivors.  

1 comment:

Nic E said...

=D What a fab post! Cheered me up. I like the signs that say things like 'Touching these wires will cause instant death. $300 fine.' You'll just have to stick the money in a prominent place where it can be found after your electrocution, presumably. ;)