Sunday, April 13, 2008

Signing your life away

Working in a modern office pretty much sucks. Not only do you have to share 40 hours a week with people you don't necessarily like, drinking crap instant coffee and answering calls and emails all day from even more people you don't necessarily like, most of us also have to put up with at least one office "signmaker".

You know the signmaker. She's generally female, based in human resources or another one of those departments no one really understands, and has unusually passionate reactions to people not putting the milk away or washing their mugs, which typically manifest in clipart adorned A4 posters in comic sans font with an excess of exclamation marks saying things like:

THE CLEANING FAIRY
IS ON ANNUAL
LEAVE!!!!!!!
PLEASE DO YOUR OWN
DISHES ITS
DISGUSTING IN HERE!!!!!!


or

THIS POT IS FOR SUGAR
NOT SUGAR AND COFFEE!!!!!!
PLS WASH YOUR SPOON FIRST
THANKYOU!!!!!!!!



Historically, these signmakers have kept to their natural habitats of the office kitchen, toilet (PLEASE FLUSH!!!!!) and the crazy neighbours who live down your street (WE R SICK OF UR CAR BLOCKING OUR DRIVEWAY!!!!!)

Worryingly, it now seems they are starting to diversify their efforts, if the shop I visited recently is anything to go by.

Raoul and I were on one of our frequent magical mystery tours, in which we drive to strange suburbs and wander around looking for hilarity. This particular weekend we found a lovely little gift shop north of the city - the kind that, as Ab Fab's Eddie would say, sells "Absolutely GORGEOUS little things, darling".

As soon as we entered, however, one thing was glaringly obvious. The owner was a signmaker of the worst kind.


Ok, it's your stock standard "don't touch" sign. Nothing unusual about that - although I always wonder how they expect you to buy anything if you can't pick it up and bring it to the bloody register. Jedi mind tricks? But then we moved further inside.


A CLARIFICATION! So you ARE allowed to touch things, but only if it's ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. This leaves obedient instruction followers in a right tizzy, for how does one determine necessity in this siuation? One man's necessary touching may be another's frivolous feel-up. I'm guessing: Picking up a scented candle to take it to the register for purhase = NECESSARY. Picking up aforementioned candle to see if it fits in your underpants = UNNECESSARY.


A FURTHER CLARIFICATION! Just in case you thought the "unnecessary touching" rule applied only to the diamante candleholders and lavender bath salts on the first set of shelves, our signmaker is there, laminator in hand, to make sure the "what constitutes unnecessary?" debate continues in the toy aisle. I don't really understand the motivation behind these signs - perhaps the shop owner is allergic to fingerprints - but frankly, the last thing one needs when trying to decide between a Tickle Me Elmo and a retro wooden pull-along train for your nephew's birthday present is an existential crisis.


Ok, we get it.


I SAID WE GET IT.



Again, what motivates a sign like this? How many people were coming into this giftshop asking for the toilet on a daily basis that necessitated a sign announcing the lack of one? And for that matter, why stop there? Why not make a few signs stating the absence of cheese on the property? Or lions?

THERE ARE NO
AFRICAN ANIMALS
ON THESE PREMISES




But couldn't I just open them up myself and have a look? I mean, that would be necessary touching, wouldn't it? Unless I open the albums to look and then decide I don't actually want to buy them, which might render my touching of them in the first place UNnecessary, which means that OH MY GOD I'VE BURST MY BRAIN.

And then we saw it. The mother of all signs.


In fact JUST STAY OUTSIDE, THAT'S RIGHT, JUST STAY OUTSIDE, DON'T COME IN AND DON'T BLOODY TOUCH OR OPEN OR BUY ANYTHING, ESPECIALLY NOT TOYS OR ALBUMS, AND PLEASE REMEMBER TO WASH YOUR SPOON. THANKYOU!!!!!



17 comments :

  1. Hmmm...never seen a request to "not walk around the shop with open bags or baskets"...what's the aim there? To stop my other purchases leaping out and getting mixed up with the tissue paper, charm bracelets, candles and pewter jewellery (just going by the pics) this place sells? Weird. Are you sure this was a SHOP and not just...someone's house?...

    Also, PetStarr, v much looking forward to your blogging on ANTM. Pray tell, are you a fan of Project Runway? Or Top Chef?

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  2. I'd like a bit of kudos for taking all those pics with my phone without Obsessive Compulsive Shop Lady catching me out. Still, it could've been inspiration for another sign. "NO COVERT CAMERA PHONE PICS TO BE TAKEN IN THIS SHOP, MUTHAFUCKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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  3. alex - Yes, that instruction puzzles me as well. And how do you enforce it anyway? I mean, it's one thing to tell a parent to stop their rowdy child from running around a chop, but it's another to tell someone to zip up their bag, please. As for Project Runway - IT'S ONLY MY FAVOURITE SHOW EVER!!! I'm currently preparing myself for ANGTM blogging - looks like it's going to be a good one.

    raoul - yes, you did very well dear. Although I have to claim photo credit for at least a few of them, as can be proven by the photo I'm actaully reflected in.

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  4. Have you thought about going back with a collection of your *own* signs and surreptitiously placing them around the shop?

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  5. LMAO

    For a moment there I thought you must work in my office! We have a sign-maker that left this beauty in the ladies room (the toilets have a tendency to flush rather explosively):

    PLEASE LIFT SEAT BEFORE FLUSHING

    I felt like replacing it with my own that said:

    WHY DON'T YOU LOOK AT THE SEAT BEFORE YOU SIT ON IT SO YOU DON'T GET A WET ARSE?

    but being the somewhat passive-aggressive person that I am, I just left the seat down and cheered on the inside when it got all wet :-)

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  6. We have those -- put up by a passive-aggressive Uniting Church member being medicated for bi-polar disorder. They're usually about washing uyp, milk ordering, etc.

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  7. Yeah, they'd have such an easier time of things if pesky little customers weren't around...

    Reminds me of the Ashcombe maze in Victoria. In their 'DESIGNATED FAMILY FUN MAZE' there were no end of signs telling us to stay on the path, keep off the grass, keep an eye on our children (in a *&%^ing maze?) etc, but we fell about laughing when we saw a zoned off area to a new maze, with the sign announcing: ADULTS ONLY MAZE.

    Well *that* was worth a look, wasn't it? Sadly, nothing to see, just more frickin' hedges....

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  8. neil - that is the best idea anyone has ever had, ever. At the very least it's the best suggestion ever received on this blog (apart from the one angry Bratz Doll fan who told me to go to "remove myself from the planet" because of this post).

    anonymous - reacting to a passive aggressive sign in a passive aggressive manner is the best tactic. I applaud you.

    elsewhere - I think other religions are affected too. I once knew a sign-loving Anglican.

    kath lockett - I SO wish you'd taken a photo of the adults only maze. How wonderful. Maybe from an aerial view it resembles a giant pair of boobs or something.

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  9. for your further enjoyment, might i suggest: www.passiveaggressivenotes.com

    notey goodness at its passive aggressive best :-)

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  10. Good lord. A gift shop where you're not allowed to pick things up and look at them - where's the fun in that?

    We have one of those signs in our tea room - it says something like "IT HAS BEEN SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN THAT DISHES DO NOT WASH THEMSELVES." Hilarious. In my last office I worked with a sign nazi who made signs and put them in the women's toilets demanding that we only give the air freshener spray ONE burst. I was always tempted to spray twice to see if she would come running in screaming and beat me with a stick or something, but I never did because it was not beyond the realms of possibility that she would actually do that.

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  11. Lovely to see you back. And with such a strong post - love it. Bring on ANTM and your posts.

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  12. HA ... the cleaning fairy (AKA gwili) is clearly still at it at the norwood office then?? ... i mean, what does she actually DO all day?

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  13. there's an HR-type chick at our office who recently put signs on each regriferator (we have three) screaming 'HAVE YOU LABELLED YOUR FOOD?' and left a roll of white address stickers for us to record our name and THE DATE WE BOUGHT THE FOOD and stick it on our apples and cheese slices. I nearly punched her when I went to get my mandarin the other day only to find it had been thrown out because I hadn't put an effing label on it... interestingly, she was made redundant last week... justice? you be the judge...

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  14. so I assume at some point you asked the excessively hairy shut-in working behind the counter where the "jars of urine" were?

    it's times like these I wish I had a violent sneezing allergy to something.. and just so happened to feel like triggering it within that shop.. coz hey, not like I'm TOUCHING anything.. riiiight? :P

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  15. There is a sign on the back of the toilet door at my work that says "DID YOU REMEMBER TO WASH YOUR HANDS?"

    I want to smash it every time I see it.

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