... but I stopped. Now I'm a dad, and may blog again...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

541: Out Of Order

There is a sign extant, printed on plain white A4 paper and affixed with clear sticky tape, that contains entirely more information than is neccessary for its purpose. This Cash Machine Out Of Order – Do Not Use. There is a commonly used phrase, custom-made for this situation, which would be much better; more concise, using less ink, and taking less time to write, print and read. Out of Order. That's all that is needed. Granted, in this blog I tend to use way more words than is needed. The world at large doesn't need any of these words. It may be that I am the sole beneficiary of this endless stream of words.

The sign is stuck onto a cash machine, one that isn't working, one with no light or digits on the LCD screen. The phrase This Cash Machine is clearly superfluous as it's obvious which cash machine is the subject of the Out Of Order. Once one is aware it is non-functioning there is no need for the phrase Do Not Use. Even if you didn't initially noticed it was out of order you would soon learn that attempting to use it was not much use. I argue that the phrase Out Of Order may even be superfluous, however I will admit that it does have social function as a polite piece of advise.

In Manchester town centre, Piccadilly Garden, there is a help point. A button, speaker and microphone built into the side of a building. If something happens, something serious, for example I don't want to think about it, it's too awful, then one can press the button and speak to someone. Someone? Who? A local bobby, a bored phone operator, a security guard, a council worker away from her desk on a biscuit run? All those and more.

The problem is, that for more than a week now the speaker has been omitting a constant squeal of feedback. Someone has severed a wire or short-circuited a brain cell and now the help point screams itself for help. Nobody helps. The blonde woman who hands out The Metro newspaper on the corner, has moved a few metres from her normal patch. She attempts to escape the squeal without abandoning her paper distribution location. Nobody comes to help. Most people walk past hearing the squeeee for a split of a second. Nobody whips out a toolkit and offers a fix. Nobody prints Out Of Order on plain A4 and sticks it up with sticky tape.

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