Monday 20 July 2009

Is It Blindingly Obvious Or Am I Just Stupid?

Certain people assume that I am totally stupid – and that annoys me.

Last week I popped into the toilet at work to answer a call of nature. I won’t go into graphic detail but when I had finished, I went to wash my hands. On the mirror in front of me were a set of instructions telling me how to wash my hands.

This stupid sign had appeared that day and basically told me in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t wash my hands it would be totally unhygienic and I would spread germs. It then went on to tell me that I should:

Wet my hands

Put soap on my hands (from the soap dispenser)

Rub my hands vigorously together

Rinse my hands

Dry my hands

And there were pictures illustrating each step.

“What the &*$£?” I yelled, scaring the hell out of an anonymous person still in a cubicle. I was doubly annoyed because I have been trying to cut down on my swearing and two days of effort had been scattered to the four winds.

Do they think I’m a bloody fool? I think my parents taught me how to wash my hands when I was three. Do they think that I’ve forgotten?

I needed a cup of tea, so after I had washed my hands, as per instructions, I went into the kitchen with my mug. There on the hot water dispenser was a sign saying “CAUTION: VERY HOT WATER

I would hope so because in order to make a superb cup of tea, you actually NEED very hot water.

Do they honestly think that I am going to put my hand under the tap and allow scalding hot water to cascade over my skin?

I’m surprised that there isn’t a sign above the toilet saying “Don’t drink the water” or a sign at the top of the stairs saying “Do not throw yourself down the stairs”.

It’s incredible and extremely worrying. Are there really people out there who need to be told these things? Are there any adults in Manchester who need to be told and shown how to wash their hands?

It’s not just Manchester nor indeed the UK. Such signs are all over the place. Here are a few examples I’ve found on the internet:

“Milk bottles contain milk”

“Don’t commit crime. Pay for your fuel”

“Visitors are warned to take every care to avoid accidents”

“Road flooded during floods”

“Caution: Water on the road when it rains”

“Sign not yet in use”

“Warning: Platform ends here”

“Do not throw stones at this sign”

“Caution: This sign has sharp edges”

“For town centre shopping, follow “Town Centre””

“Removing a wheel can affect the performance of the bicycle”

“For indoor or outdoor use only”

“This door is neither an entrance or an exit and must never be opened”

“Contents hot on removal from microwave”

“Always pick up the knife by the handle”

“Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts”

“Danger: Vehicles on the road”

“Warning: This heater will get hot. Please take note and for your own safety do not touch the unit”

It’s clear that the police in my country think that I need to be told not to commit crimes. When I drive up to a petrol station forecourt I have to be told to pay for my fuel. I’m that stupid. Or at least these people think so. How many petrol stations have forgotten to put up sign and had customers drive off without paying? It’s bloody absurd.

Have you ever watched daytime TV? Apart from the mind-numbing banality of the programmes, the adverts are geared towards people with a low IQ.

“Have you had an accident that wasn’t your fault? We at Accident Claims For Muppets will get you compensation.”

I presume that the muppets in question accidentally put their hand under a tap dispensing scalding hot water when there wasn’t a sign warning them not to do so. I’m sure that there are genuine accidents caused by neglect but the line has to be drawn somewhere. I don’t need to be told how to pick up a knife or that drinking toilet water can make me violently ill.

I am not a stupid child (even though I act like one sometimes; well of most the time if the truth be known).


Stunatra said...

Yep, there are people that need to be told these things. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to be punished for their stupidity.

Kath Lockett said...

G'day Plasmanc! I really love reading your blog but this is the first bloody time I've been able to post a comment without being given a rather rude cyberwedgie that locks me out and closes down your site every single time.

As for painfully obvious signage, I'm just waiting for the full move from 'be snackwise' that chocolate companies have to put on their wrappers to 'WARNING. EAT THIS AND YOU WILL BE A FAT ARSE - PUT IT BACK DOWN AND GO FOR A WALK INSTEAD'

Susan said...

I used to work at a petrol station and the credit card companies used to send us lists of cards which we were supposed to refuse if a customer presented the card to use. There would be about a dozen pages and quite often there would be a page with nothing on it apart from the words 'this page is blank' - I never quite saw the point of that one.

Plastic Mancunian said...

G'day Kath,


That's the kind of warning sign I would LOVE to see. You could put a similar sign outside cake shops.





Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Stunatra,

It's ridiculous isn't it?

I would be tempted to hang around in the toilet to see who actually reads the instructions about hand washing - if it didn't look so perverted.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Susan,

Yes - I've see that:

"This page is intentionally left blank"

I totally agree - what's the point of that?

I wonder how some people get dressed in the morning, I honestly do.




bingkee said...

Well, I just think they're redundant in a way to emphasize warnings, to avoid legal suits.However , it's really funny.
The funniest ones are the ones in products made in non-English-speaking Asian countries. The translation is hilarious.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Bingkee,

I've been to China and seen some really funny translations from Chinese to English in places like hotel rooms, so I know exactly what you mean.




Unknown said...

LOL...I totally get that.

I always looked at those things as how I look at all the Books for Dummies that are making a fortune...obviously some peopled do have to be told:)

I really love the one in public washrooms that say..." All staff must wash hands"
I always wonder about eating in restaurants just because of those stupid signs.
If people have to be told ...that means they are not doing it...GROSSS!!!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Dorothy,

You're absolutely right. There really must be people who don't wash their hands after the loo. You see, I don't mind signs reminding people to do that; I find it absurd that the sign tells you how to do it with pictures in case you are too dumb to read and understand the words.




River said...

Hello Plastic Man, I came here via Kath's blurb from the Burbs. We have the exact same hand washing instructions in the Ladies at work, yet there are still some who walk out without washing....blech!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I've seen exactly the same - guys go in there, do their business and then walk straight out, touching the door handle with their minging fingers.


I wouldn't mind a big sign on the door to the loo saying "WASH YOUR HANDS OTHERWISE YOU ARE A DIRTY B**T**D!!"

In fact, I might create such a sign ...




ashleigh said...

I better post a photo of the sign in our loo at work. Amongst the gems on this sign (in the mens, I might add) are:

- no squatting on the toilet seats

- no spitting in the sink

There are a few more, along with the obligatory instructions on how to wash hands.

You have to wonder....

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Ashleigh,

You really do have to wonder. I would love to know who is responsible for this nonsense.

The "How To Wash Hands" sign was unbelievable and prompted this post. If you have any others, let me know.