I am a person that believes that it is possible to convey a message with very few words. Granted this does not mean that I always am an economist of words. I understand I can be rather loquacious. But I think this qualifies me to recognize when more words are not needed, or when some words are possibly redundant.
Recently I have come across some instructions, signs, and messaging that could have, perhaps, used a bit of assistance in hitting their intended goal.
I was in a shoe store recently, one of those self serve kinds where you have to comb through the aisles amidst boxes and boxes of shoes that may or may not be in your size. I pulled a pair out in my size and noticed in the lower right hand corner a sentence that kind of threw me.
Average contents? I believe that when purchasing shoes, I shouldn’t have to be working with the law of averages. If I buy a pair of shoes, I don’t want there to be a “good chance” I’m going to get both of them.
And I know I am the worst person on the planet to be pulling apart math theories here, but as I understand it, average means that (in this particular case) there are some shoe boxes that have 1 shoe, and some shoe boxes that have 3 shoes. And I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen a shoebox before, but they tend to only fit 2 shoes at a time. So that would mean that there would have to be 2 regular sized shoes and like… a Barbie shoe.
I have no use for Barbie shoes, nor am I in the habit of purchasing them. I would prefer that my shoe boxes contain 2 human shoes… definitely.
Something I don’t have an average need for is donuts. My need for donuts is something many people know about. I don’t believe I have a sweet tooth I just enjoy eat 3 or 4 donuts in a sitting. Does that mean I have a sweet tooth? I don’t personally think so.
But the signs that donut shops put up really crack me up, and not just because they seem to state ridiculous facts, but also because they are written with ridiculous grammar.
Like this one.
Not accepting over a 20 dollar bill seems like maybe it is not a great idea. I mean sure, if I go in and try to buy 5 munchkins with a Benjamin, yea, that doesn’t make sense. But what if I want to buy 5 HUNDRED munchkins. Am I really going to have to pay with 20s?
And the not selling the empty cup. I mean, you have to have some pretty stupid customers who are looking for a cup full of nothing. And if they are so stupid as to want to purchase an empty cup, well, I mean I think you should let them. When did we decide to be against accepting money from strangers?
Like the 99 cent store in my town. It is a store so jammed with junk that you could probably buy cotton swabs, electrical sockets, and a sled all on the same shelf.
On the nicer days, they display some of their crap outside of the store that you can purchase. It was on just such a day that I noticed they had some very inexpensive books for sale. But their pricing structure confused me.
First of all, a 99 cent store selling anything for more than a dollar seems like cause for a lawsuit, but I will let that slide for the moment. What I am most curious to is how they came up with their price. Does the $1.17 price have something to do with the 12 per customer limit? Are they somehow opposed to:
A. Selling all of their products?
B. Making more than $14.04 per customer?
Is there some crazy tax law at play here? This really doesn’t seem like the establishment to be capping their business. I don’t really see them expanding their empire anytime soon… Unless of course the smell of asbestos and claustrophobia make a huge comeback in popularity.
On the same day I frequented my 99 cent store, I also walked past a construction site that was nearing completion. Construction sites are usually a mess of safety cones, and signs, and warnings. I don’t pay too much attention to them, but on this recent day there was one that was for some reason on a golden sign that said:
The mystery and sheer ambiguity of this sign really peaked my interest. The number is important yes. Absolutely. But in case of necessity? I mean, why else would I call?
Hello this is the necessity hotline, is this a necessity?
What? Oh no no, I’m just calling to say hey.
Oh I’m sorry sir, this line is only for necessary phone calls. You’re going to have to hang up.
But wait, I really want to talk to you, and if I don’t call you it is not possible to do so. So in that regard this is kind of necessary.
Oh… well.. I never thought about it that way. Continue on then.
I can’t even wrap my brain around the need for this sign. That’s like putting “Please don’t prank call my phone” on your business card. It almost begs that people do so. I wanted to call that number on the sign just to find out what their definition of necessity was.
Perhaps if they put a limit on the average necessity I was allowed, that would have made it clearer.