STANDING in small change rooms in fashion stores trying on a new outfit is something every woman dreads.
The unforgiving fluorescent lights, the pitiless mirrors - these spaces have obviously been designed by a short bald misogynous man to show up every tiny flaw in a woman. But that's not the point of my small story this week.
There I was, trying to squeeze my curves into a floaty sundress in a tiny change-room when a handwritten sign above the mirror beamed down at me.
"Do you want free food?” it said. Then the next line: "Do you want free accommodation?” Then another line: "Do you want free transport to your free food and free accommodation?” (I'm sold, where do I sign up?)
By this time all thoughts of the floaty sundress trying to struggle over my hips were forgotten.
But then, the next line: "Steal a dress from my shop and you will have free transport to the nearest police station and free food and accommodation in jail?”
What a bummer! I have never shoplifted anything in my life and although I know it is a problem for retailers don't you think putting such a nasty sign in an already-nasty space is a turn off to buying something?
I do not need rules spelt out to me, especially in a way that was intended to be smarty-pants (and especially as it reeled in my inner-greedy person.)
I have a personal and strong dislike of signs that tell you rules which are obvious. They are everywhere. Just a day after my free food/accommodation/transport encounter came another sign, this time at a local deli while I was at the counter ready to pay.
"We know your phone calls are important but if you talk on the phone in front of me you won't be served.”
Now, as we all know, nothing is ruder than talking on a mobile phone while you are at the check-out paying for your purchases. Whether it is in the relative anonymity of the supermarket or in the personal space of a small boutique it is still very rude.
But I do not need to be told this in a written sign.
I understand completely the frustration of the server. But to tell me so blatantly in a sign that you won't serve me? No. No. No. Don't like that at all.
Here's another sign annoyance. Why is it necessary to put the words 'strictly forbidden' in front of something you are telling us not to do, something we wouldn't do anyway?
Running, jumping, and shouting around the pool is not on, I know that. I do not need to be told I'm 'strictly' not allowed to do it (even when I'm tempted to do a belly flop.)
You see the 'strictly forbidden' signs so often in so many places you are probably oblivious to them.
Letting your dog do a naughty in the park is strictly forbidden.
Smoking, it goes without saying, is strictly forbidden.
Taking a photo in the theatre is strictly forbidden.
Al fresco peeing is strictly forbidden.
These, and so many more, are all good rules designed to keep society nice...but do we really need to be told of them so strictly?
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