Tuesday, 9 October 2012


I am sure that once upon a time warning signs were used to actually warn people where there were a significant (even if small) number of people unaware of some possible danger. There are places for such things. Indeed, instructions for fire exits on a hotel door are a case: where we all know what to do, not because we have survived several hotel fires, or know people that have, but because we have read the signs.

Once upon a time you had to pay a sign writer to put up a sign, so they were generally sensible - used only where it was worth the money to put up a sign.

I am not alone in the pet hate at warning signs, but really, do we live in a world where a hotel could be sued because someone did not know to "take care when standing or walking on wet surfaces" ?

I mean, who is their target audience for this sign? People old enough to read, and have unsupervised access to a hotel shower, but stupid enough to have not learned that wet floors are slippery? Do such people actually exist?  Does the world really allow that lack of common sense to somehow be the hotel's fault?

If we really live in such a crazy world, surely a simple sign like this cannot be sufficient to make the hotel blameless? E.g. if I slipped, and broke my arm - I could sue.... and...

(a) They could not really say "you should know that wet floors are dangerous" can they? If that was true then they would not need signs. They clearly expect there to be guests that do not know this.

(d) Also, they somehow expect that I failed to learn this lesson in several decades of my life up until now, so surely they are naive to think that a simple sign will somehow give me an epiphany and educate me on the dangers of wet floors. They must have known that teaching me about wet floors would take way more than just a silly sign - after all, they think I have not learned this in well over 40 years of life so far.

So surely that would make them negligent for not insisting I go on a three day common sense training course, with tests I have to pass, before entering the building?

Yes, crazy, but surely as crazy as any excuse for needing such a stupid sign in the first place?!

What if someone did a "common sense training course", with a test. Then when you book a hotel they just need a tick box "have you passed your common sense training course" and never need a stupid sign again. :-)


  1. Signs record history.. if you see a sign that says 'no rollerblading' at a train station then somebody has in the past considered that a sensible thing to do.

    Clearly at that hotel there was someone who was not aware that wet floors are slippery.

    I'd like to say I'm surprised.,. But I've met too any 'ordinary' people for that.

  2. One of my favourites is the warning you get when you open a Dominos pizza box - "Warning: Hot Pizza!"

    As if I need to be warned that I am about to receive exactly what I paid for.

  3. Life is a "common sense training course". If you fail, you get maimed or die.

    1. For some reason I misread that as if you "fail you get married or die"

  4. @Tony I have a photo of a sign warning you not to park vehicles in the toilets: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/NzCdqKHK_Fpj3LueYF3UF9MTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

    apparently it was inspired by someone who did

  5. With pizza you do sometimes need to be warned. If my pizza ever comes hot enough to warrant a warning I am usually quite surprised. I find that pizza warning most annoying because it's often lying about the temperature of the pizza :P