I love dumb signs. I mean, I really love dumb signs that are put up to discourage bad behavior. I find it curious that someone believes that another person will change their behavior just because a sign orders or threatens them to do so. Well, here’s a message for all you sign makers out there: It doesn’t work. Step away from the fat black Sharpie. Signs don’t work on people who exhibit bad behavior in the first place.
Dumb signs reach the wrong audience. They only reach those people who wouldn’t do what the sign warns them of in the first place. Like the sign on all new iPods that says, “Don’t pirate music“. Man, I’ll bet that little sticker tugs at the heart strings and stops those bad pirates in their tracks. Or how about the sign above the men’s urinal at a company I used to work for that said, “Do not post signs above the urinal. Signed, Building Mgmt”. A few days later some jokester posted a sign that read, “Do not post signs above existing signs above the urinal. Signed, The Urinal Hero” That right there is my all-time favorite sign.
So I get a kick out of coming across dumb signs like I did tonight as I drove through the Arby’s drive-thru. Quick topic change. Have you ever tried to order JUST A SANDWICH off the Arby’s menu? It’s nearly impossible. The person taking the order must be working off some spiff program because they jump into action trying to shove a combo meal down your throat. They can’t imagine anyone would decline fries and drink with the sandwich. Next time I’m there, I’m going to order a sandwich and then forcefully decline the combo meal pitch. Then I’m going to order a stand alone order of fries. You just know the order taker is gonna throw a hissy about this time and attempt a drink upsell. I’ll decline that. When I’m asked if that’s all I need I’ll pause and say, “You know what? I’ll take a medium Diet Pepsi”. It will be a combo meal the old fashioned way.
OK, so back to the sign. As I drove up to the window to pick up my hard fought sandwiches, I noticed the following hand-written, ALL CAPS sign posted right near the window for every drive-thru customer to see:
ALICIA’S MANAGER KEYS HAVE SUPPOSEDLY DISAPPEARED. THIS WILL RESULT IN TERMINATION! HOPEFULLY THESE KEYS WILL MYSTERIOUSLY SHOW UP IN THE CUP ON THE COUNTER.
Upon reading this sign my first thought was, “Well crap, Arby’s hired a thief”. If this person would steal from a colleague, wouldn’t it make sense they would steal from a customer too? My second thought was, “Putting them in a cup on the counter might not be the most secure option given the circumstances”.
I’m sure Alicia is upset about her missing keys. I’m just not sure every person that pulls up to the drive-thru needs to read about it. And honestly, if you took the keys even by accident, would you return them with the threat of TERMINATION looming? I love the exclamation point after TERMINATION too. Nice touch.
I picked up my sandwiches, looked to make sure my keys were still in the ignition and drove home with more questions than answers.