Caution – you are reading a blog
Recently I attended a meeting over at a different Town Hall which went on all afternoon. Not my record for a single meeting perhaps, but a long old time during which the weather changed when it started raining like the tears of those who loved the scrapped Comprehensive Area Assessment.
On my way out I noticed that the security guards were putting out ‘Caution – wet floor’ signs in front of the building. Upon enquiry I found out that this was what they always do when it starts to rain.
Simple question time – why?
If it is raining, the floor will get wet. That is a fact, and one that it didn’t take me or anyone else long to work out. Rain is water, rain hits the floor, water is wet and ergo the floor is wet too. This isn’t a new phenomenon, nor is it only relevant in Council buildings – when it rains the floor outside my house gets more than a little damp as well.
If someone is stupid enough not to know that the floor is wet when it’s raining then they are also stupid enough to ignore all warning signs. If you can’t notice several thousand tonnes of water falling on your head then you won’t notice a small yellow placard which is telling you this.
The other thing this does is encourage me to ignore all warning signs and view them as irrelevant. The more commonplace they are the more useless they become. They won’t stop me from being careful as that is my responsibility; they just disguise the few signs which might actually be useful.
For example, I don’t need a warning sign when walking through the woods telling me to beware low branches, mind the holes in the floor or to avoid the badgers – I have the common sense to do this all by myself.
If there is a sign however that says ‘you have now entered a minefield’ then I might actually take some notice. This isn’t something I’d necessarily know otherwise, and might have a detrimental effect on both the state of my underwear and also my life.
Having that small yellow sign telling me the floor is wet won’t even stop many people from suing if they think they can get away with it. The Council might be able to point to their little sign and say ‘we did warn you’ but I’m certain there are arguments around this, and before long we’ll have to hand out safety leaflets whenever it looks a bit cloudy and introduce wet-weather walking training courses as a supplement to the existing dry-weather version.
I guess my point is twofold – people need to use their brains more, and Councils need to credit them with having one in the first place.