Just Need To Change One Thing… The Words!

Pointless sign


I recently read an article that highlighted blatant mistakes in some supermarket labels.

For instance, Wilkinsons were selling Colgate toothpaste at £2.60 each, or 2 for £6. Hardly encouragement to buy two if you ask me.

Then ASDA chipped in with their own bargain for Lucozade Sport by selling it for £2 a bottle, or 2 for £6, huh?

And not wishing to be excluded from the silliness was Tesco who listed Dr. Oetker pizzas for £1.39, or 2 for £4.50.

Clearly none of these were meant to say this and can probably be put down as genuine mistakes caused by the ever growing involvement of computers in our society.

Signs Don’t Escape

Whilst reading this article I started to think about all of the mistakes that have been made in signs over the years.  It specifically reminded me about one I came across a few weeks ago. It was located in my local Sainsburys supermarket car park, and it just didn’t make any sense at all…

Now, I don’t think it can be attributed to being classed as a computer glitch.  For me it’s definitely human error somewhere along the line.

The Sign In Question

You see, the sign said “Thank you for leaving these spaces free for Blue Badge holders”. Ok, that’s a nice thing to say and I can clearly see the positives with it.  Unfortunately though it was located in the wrong place… or so I thought at first.  Don’t worry, I’ll explain.

Normally supermarkets locate simple and useful signs throughout their car parks. They have exit signs guiding drivers out, no entry signs controlling one-ways, and specific signs indicating where the disabled bays and mother and toddler spaces are.

But Why Say That?

I was with my wife at the time who is a disabled Blue Badge holder. So upon arrival into the car park I pulled up into a disabled bay.  It was then that I noticed the sign in front of me. I stopped for a moment and turned to my wife and said “Well that’s not right is it?”

The message on the sign was clearly thanking me for not parking in the very space that I’d just parked in.  How ridiculous.

I started to think it through… well it’s obviously for people who shouldn’t be parking in a disabled bay. So for instance my good self when I’m not with my wife. That’s OK, fine. Completely agree.

Broken Pencil

The daft thing is that if I park elsewhere, so not in a disabled bay, then I won’t see the sign.  The flip side is that if someone doesn’t have a badge but does park in a disabled bay then they probably couldn’t care less whether they are thanked or not for doing something that they clearly haven’t done.

It’s just a crazy scenario.  The sign is simply like a broken pencil… pointless!

One Answer

Somewhere along the line this sign and location has never been thrashed out across the boardroom table, or maybe it has, which is a bit worrying!

The problem here is that the only suitable place for this sign to be is in a normal parking space, and not in a disabled bay.  This way each driver will be thanked for not parking in a disabled bay, and for kindly leaving those spaces for people who may need them.

The issue with this policy is clearly that hundreds of signs are needed for each non-disabled parking space, something I’m sure the cost justification department will say no to in most cases.


So what’s the way forward then?

Well, I guess they could just forget about thanking drivers, albeit the wrong ones, and remove the signs altogether.  Or perhaps the best, most accurate and relatively cost effective thing to do is to leave the sign located in the disabled bay but simply change its wording.  I’ve come up with a couple of ideas.

How about… “Dear Blue Badge Holder: Well done on finding a free bay!”

That’s fairly tame I know so perhaps something a little stronger would be more fitting…

“No Blue Badge? Ring 01234.555.678 to find out where to pick your car up from. Signed Mr. Tow Truck”.

Oh well, I’m sure you get the gist.

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3 Responses to Just Need To Change One Thing… The Words!

  1. Hi, enjoyed this post – my mind must work in similar ways because I too see silliness in so many things – a sense of humour is a precious thing! Thanks for introducing yourself to me on twitter :-)

  2. Love your blog–it gave me a chance to enjoy some real R&R. I love signs and I particularly love the church signs that people so frequently quote with usually just one typo, but that one typo dramatically changes the entire message! And not for the better! Love your blog and I’ll be back!

  3. C Speno says:

    Nice blog, Mark, and I appreciate your views on the sometimes “silly stuff” that we notice with words and prices. What were they thinking??!!

    It’s kind of like a marketer calling you to ask for your phone number ?!*&!?

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