Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign!

At one time or another, I’ve seen this sign (or one like it) at the entrance to just about any airport I’ve ever traveled in, including some of the busiest in the world: TERMINAL CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE between 12:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. until further notice. Ticketed Passengers & Employees ONLY will have access to Terminal.

Regarding the person who made the sign, I can’t help but wonder; Were they angry? Were they frustrated? Did they read it out loud to see if it was clear? Why does it need to say ‘until further notice?’ After all, aren’t all rules in the airport in place until further notice? Why say 12:00 a.m. when midnight seems much clearer? Do they really need to alert employees to this rule every day?

You can bet that every person reading this sign for the first time is sure the terminal is closed right this minute, until they read the next line. The reality is that most of them won’t read beyond the capitalized title and will continue on at warp speed, confused and angry, while trying to find an entrance to be invited into so they won’t miss a flight.

Truth Be Told, perhaps it might be a better sign if it simply read: Hi. To keep this terminal clean, it’s closed to visitors from midnight until 4 a.m. every night.

Ticketed passengers are always welcome. Thank you.

Published by The Leadership Consortium

Maxie Carpenter was formerly Vice President of HR & Talent Development for Wal-Mart Stores. After a 27-year career, he began to pursue a number of other interests, which included alternative education, nonprofits, consulting, writing and public speaking.

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