A week ago I was on a train bound for London upon which I witnessed a sign which asked passengers to ‘Close and lock the door before use.’
This sign was on the inside of the toilet compartment.
Now lets ignore the fact that anyone who needs reminding to close the door before using a public toilet shouldn’t be allowed out on their own and consider for a moment why these signs exist.
In my opinion, these wasted words are a results of a) general ignorance in our population and b) the ambulance chasing lawyer culture which fills our TV screens during daytime television ad breaks.
Over the last week I have been reminded that my freshly purchased coffee is ‘HOT’ and that the packet of almonds I purchased ‘May Contain Nuts’ – well in both cases I bloody well hope so!
But then I had a change of heart – firstly these signs are a form of entertainment. After all if it wasn’t for these somewhat pointless words of wisdom my twitter feed would be a lot shorter. Secondly I have used these signs to help my son (who is five) continue to learn to read. Finally I thought that we should actually have more of these signs.
For example – on the return journey to my beloved North East, I would have dramatically benefited from a line on the ticket which stated ‘Your ticket entitles you to a single seat – not the whole carriage’ or a sign above my table which stated that ‘After you’ve kicked the person opposite you five times, they are entitled to administer ONE punch on the body part of their choosing.’
All a little OTT you might think, but if people really need to be reminded of basic lavatory protocol, isn’t it time we improved other aspects of our social interactions with such helpful signs? I therefore conclude that these words are not wasted, but essential.
Post your suggestions below.