It’s a sign of the times. The signs, I mean.
We now need SIGNS to remind us of common courtesies, which must not be all that common anymore if they are no longer tacitly understood.
My family and I were on vacation last summer in Massachusetts, when I noticed a printed sign tacked up on a window at a touristy walk-up lunch place, which had a long line: “Please have your order ready when you get to the window, to be fair to the people in line behind you."
I couldn’t figure out how I felt about it, because on one hand, it’s kind of cool to put people in their place with a polite, direct note. On the other hand, it’s sad that we have to be gently reminded to not wait in line for 15 minutes and then stammer, “Umm, “ and “I dunno, what do you want?” or "No, wait, what oil do you use for your fries?" when we finally reach the little order window.
I’ve seen more such signs lately, pointing out things that one would think people intrinsically know.
Like this one, which I saw on the jogging track I frequent:
So there are enough people spitting during their run or walk that management felt they had to put up a sign about that? Shouldn’t you know not to hock a loogie when there are people behind you or perhaps even alongside you?
I guess not.
Meanwhile, akin to the sign I saw out East, one market where I shop was having a problem with customers on their cell phones who apparently act annoyed when their number is called and they have to place their order.
Hence, this sign was put up:
I’m sure there are plenty of other ones about cell phone usage, from doctors’ offices to quiet cars on commuter trains to perhaps even funeral homes. (You know you’ve seen it: that guy or girl yammering on a call loudly outside a visitation room or chapel, not very far from the grieving family. But that’s a rant for another day.)
As discouraging as this trend may be, perhaps these sign posters are onto something. Come to think of it, I might just whip up some homemade signs to carry around with me, like an indignant mime. “Pull over for that ambulance.” “Say ‘thank you’ when I hold the door open for you. “I’m sorry, I was here first and waiting much longer than you.” “Please refrain from shouting at and insulting colleagues in a business meeting.”
So…has anyone else seen this behavior notices posted in public or private places? How do you feel about it?