I love a good sign. More accurately I love a bad sign. The best type of bad signs are those that are just randomly put somewhere because someone had an opinion of what he/she (and therefore others) should be doing when approaching this particular sign access point. As an example of this type of sign, think of the relatively simple act of zipping up your pants. The thought process probably went something like this:
“Time to put my britches on. OK, one leg in, keep my balance. Up with the other foot…crap, why do my toes always get caught on the second leg…ok, done. Let’s pull the britches up now. Up, up we go…I really need to lose some weight….button the pants…ready….GO LIVE MY LIFE!”
You’ll note that our subject above forgot one important step – to zip his pants. He then went out and was laughed at by a random nobody at work. Therefore, every single day of his life is met by the thought of “XYZ…PDQ!” while dressing. He certainly doesn’t feel that anyone ELSE should suffer that indignity, so he puts a sign on every pair of pants that simply says “Check your zipper”. This is an astronomical waste of money and time – yet because one guy had a bad experience everyone needs to suffer.
Welcome to my office building. People specialize here in astronomical wastes of money and time – so it’s a perfect place for all types of wonderful signs. Recently, my office opened the stairwells to employees. I’ll let that sink in for a second. It’s an eight-story building and employees couldn’t take the stairs all the way to the bottom floors or leave the building. You could only go from floor to floor above the third floor. How’s THAT for promoting fire safety, fitness and people’s general phobia of elevator riding (guilty, party of one…). So the building management finally had the brilliant idea of allowing people to use the stairs to go from the first floor to their work habitat. Of course they also had put up all sorts of brilliant signs promoting exercise and taking the steps – as if suddenly it was their fantastic idea to walk up stairs.
The opening of the stairs has led to all sorts of interesting signs. People apparently had to check their virtual zipper and impart their wisdom amongst all the populace of the building. The most interesting example I’ve come across while avoiding the 17 elevators in the edifice:
This “sign” (i.e. piece of paper put up with thumbtacks) is at a stairwell door opening out into the main building. You’ve got a LOT of instructions to follow there. Keep right? Watch your step? Remain quiet? These are all, taken by themselves, very important. But put all three of them together on one piece of paper and when I open this door I expect to walk into a veritable hell-fire menagerie of dangerous animals, dangerous spinning saw blades and sleeping dragons. So I dutifully move to my right to avoid the critters, look down so that I don’t step on the bloody spikes, and silence my breath so as not to disturb the sleeping Animalia. I slowly and carefully open the door to this dangerous and foreboding sight:
Umm. That’s a LOT of instructions to give me for an empty hallway. Next time you check your virtual zipper keep it to yourself, eh?