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Important Notice for People Who Don’t Read Notices April 22, 2009

Posted by Phil Groom in Bookshop Ramblings.
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3 comments

Welcome! This is a notice is for people who don’t read notices. Which means you, gentle reader, are in the wrong place.

But since you’re here, perhaps you can help me.

For my day job — when I’ve got nothing better to do, you understand — I run a college bookshop. We have a couple of notices on the door about our opening times.

One is slightly complicated: it spells out our normal opening times, which have remained exactly the same for the last eight years:

Normal Opening Times
10.30am – 4.30pm
Termtime: Monday to Friday
Vacations: Tuesday to Saturday

But every time a college vacation comes around, customers wander in and ask if the shop will be open during the vacation.

The other is very simple: it says OPEN on one side and CLOSED on the other. Most of the time we remember to flip it around, but we like to make it easy for people: when the shop’s open, we have the lights on and the door open; when it’s closed, we have the door closed and most of the lights off.

But when the door is open and the lights are on, people wander in and say, “Are you open?” … and when the door is closed and the lights are off, people try the door and seem confused when it doesn’t open…

There was a time when I wondered why people who can’t read would want to visit a bookshop anyway; but we sell chocolate as well now, so non-readers have a good reason for visiting too.

But all in all, I’m left wondering: would it be better to take down the notices, since so many people don’t read them? Or is it best to leave them there so that when people don’t read them I can point to them? Is that really what notices are for — like speed limit signs on the roads, not there for people to read but to be pointed at afterwards when they’ve ignored them?

If you know, please do tell.

Thank you for reading.

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