More Signs, and no Wonder

Sometimes I really do wonder what goes through someone’s head when they put up half the official notices we see. There was one, pasted into every cubicle of the Holyhead Ferry terminal toilets (at least in the girls’ ones, I didn’t check the blokes’) ‘Please flush the toilet’. Who, exactly, was that aimed at, do you suppose? Who is there who had mastered the basics of reading but who wasn’t really sure what the little handle thing on the bog is for? And which of those is going to read that sign and think, you know I wasn’t going to bother to flush, but now I think I will? The only function those notices really serve is to make the person who put them up feel better.

And then in the Virgin train toilets (sorry about all the toilet humour, just the way it panned out…), some instructions on the use of the emergency call button: step one, it said. Press for emergency assistance. Well, that’s fair enough, you wouldn’t want someone stranded on the floor of the disabled lavatory desperately twisting and pulling the button to call for help. But then, whoever was writing the sign obviously felt something was wrong. You can’t just have one step in a set of instructions. There needs to be a step two. So they added one: Step two. Wait for assistance. Ah, but of course. So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all these years.

But the prize for absolute content-free informational message of the week has to go to SouthWest Trains, masters of the pointless tannoy announcement. In a rare lull between passing trains this morning at Vauxhall we heard the following message: ‘This is a special announcement from the SouthWest Trains Customer information centre,’ and we all pricked up our ears. Special announcements generally mean bad news – strikes, engineering works, signal failure at Clapham Junction, that sort of thing. ‘We would like to thank you all for choosing to travel by train today.’ And that was it.

I suppose it was a nice thought …


9 responses to “More Signs, and no Wonder

  1. I plead guilty as for puttin up signs like the toilet one. Actually i did put one up saying exactly that, Please flush the toilets, at my workplace, or rather the customer toilet. Because believe it or not, some gents do need to be reminded. Countless the times that I walked in there and both toilets unflushed. One you experience that, you’ll understand the need to put up signs like that. It’s all a matter of the perspective.

  2. Brilliant.

    I spotted one in Watford Gap Services men’s toilets on the shower cubicle door reading “Shower broken, use women’s”. Sure the ladies would love big fat truckers waltzing in there eh!

    Also, on the M4 coming out of London, it says M4 with a big arrow pointing forward painted in each of the three lanes. Well where else could one possibly go?! do a U turn and go the wrong way back down the carriageway? Turn left and drive through a farmer’s field?

    Sure I’ve seen more I’ve forgotten about.

  3. Nearly as good as the one we use on LU

    “Welcome to London Underground”


    “Customer Information, there are no reported delays to your journey at present” as if this is some sort of miracle.

    I have, also seen toilet signs that read – “Press Once to flush” what would happen if I pressed twice?

  4. Spotted in the Gourmet Burger restaurant near Paddington: “please put only toilet paper down the toilet. please use the bin provided”. Well, if you insist!

  5. Hannah – but did it work? Or did it just make you feel better?

    I keep waiting for the tube announcement that goes ‘a good service is running on the District line. The other services are all running normally’

  6. it didnt work, quite frustrating, one would think a male adult would know that one needs to flush the toilet after finishing your business. well obviously not.

    yea, it made me feel better, and puttin up the sign was a very amusing experience too

  7. That probably explains the Holyhead toilet sign. The rest remain a mystery …

  8. Never – maybe “a normal service is operating…”

  9. Ok – maybe not on the district line …

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