From the Guardian: The sheer hell of bossy Britain.
Last month, the public address system at Earl’s Court tube station in London was served with a noise abatement order. Passengers, it seems, had had enough of being told the blindingly obvious. "They come over with these bizarre messages that you would know already unless you were simple," says Peter Wakeham, director of the Noise Abatement Society. "’Stand back or the train will run you over.’ ‘Don’t lean on the doors.’ ‘Stand back from the opening doors.’ ‘Mind the gap.’ ‘Do this.’ ‘Don’t do that.’ We don’t need to be told so many obvious things in these deafening ways. It’s not rocket science."
There are reports that some London Underground staff have sensibly decided to satirise the bossy pointlessness of their colleagues’ PA announcements. According to passenger website Going Underground, commuters at Holborn station waiting to board a train were recently told: "This is a train. Get on it. Go home. See you Monday." [continue]
That was an article well worth reading in toto. I could relate oh so well to the entire diatribe.
Especially “how can you make people behave respectfully? If you make them do something, they are less likely to feel respected and so less likely to treat you with respect. Similarly, if you boss people, they will, if they have any remaining vertebrae, rebel.” Yes, indeedy. Do you remember the “Question Authority” bumper stickers?
I laughed and laughed as I read that article, Sarah. Glad you liked it.
So may of the “don’t do this! don’t do that!” signs could be replaced with “just don’t be an idiot!” signs – except what good would that do when idiots don’t get it, no matter WHAT the signs say?
Britain is a whole special case, though – there are so many nonsensical rules. Imagine a large park with signs saying “keep off the grass” all over the place. What the hell is the grass for, then, decoration? What harm will there be if a couple of kids sit on the sacred grass whilst eating their picnic lunch? Mind-boggling.
We have a lot of stupid signs in Canada, too, but at least nobody minds if you walk, sit, or cartwheel on the grass in any public space.