Signs of the times

I’m in a bit of a muddle, and it’s all because of signs.

I no longer know what signs I’m meant to read, and which I’m meant to ignore. Which are aimed at me, and which are aimed at “other people”. Indeed which are there by right and which are interlopers meant to mislead.

It all began when the bins along the path near my home acquired new signs. Prior to these appearing, it was quite clear to any passer-by that the black bin which looked like a rubbish bin was, of course, a rubbish bin. The red bin which looked like every other dog poo bin in the world was, equally clearly, for bags of dog poo. Easy.

But then, perhaps in silent agreement that our councils have too much money and too many witless servants of the public, both types of bin acquired these new signs. One reads “Official Notice – this bin is for rubbish only”, the other reads “Official Notice – this bin is for dog mess only”. And yes, they did get it the right way around.

So what’s my problem?

Well, now I’m unsure whether to trust other signs around me. There’s a big pole at the end of our road which says “Bus Stop” at the top. I’d always assumed that it was, indeed, a bus stop. But there’s no indication that it’s official. Could it be that it’s fake? Since then, I’ve noticed many other signs which seem to be similarly unofficial, including all the ones I see while driving.

Perhaps I had better ignore them.

Today, I found further evidence that there are signs which seem to be aimed at me, but aren’t. The toilet at the soft play area I visited (with my children, I’m not completely weird) has signs headed “Customer Notice” which ask me to do things I’d never have considered, such as turning off the tap. But there are other signs telling me which bin to use for nappies – I think I’m meant to ignore these, as they do not come marked as for customers.

Similarly, as a polite person I’ve grown to pay close attention to any sign headed “Polite Notice”, but to feel insulted and disgusted when they are not. I mean… how rude!

All this is evidence that either the world has gone mad, or I have. I’ll keep an eye out for a notice that will help me know for sure.

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About mikbarne
I'm a writer and freelance communications and collaboration consultant with nearly 20 years experience in UK telecommunications, specialising in VoIP, Unified Communications and Collaboration, and building effective communications architectures. Visit my Google+ Profile

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