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A prolific sign writer

Phyllis Humby's picture
Fri, 12/29/2017 - 16:03 -- Phyllis Humby

The chorus from that 70s moldy oldy ‘Sign, sign, everywhere a sign’ played in my mind as I waited. I felt the room closing in on me. There were signs posted all over the office in bold block lettering with multiple exclamation marks. What the heck?

I usually read a book to pass the time, but the plethora of signs had my full attention. The old song bounced off my brain, ‘Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?’ Come on, you remember that tune.

Anyway, the postings didn’t come across like notices or reminders. They looked like angry threats. The huge bold black lettering and all those exclamation marks. I mean, seriously, stop yelling already.

Just the same, I did scramble after reading, ‘Turn cell phones off or your appointment is immediately cancelled’. As harsh as that sounded, they used only one exclamation mark. The sign DO NOT OPEN WINDOW at the receptionist’s desk had three. Or maybe I have that backwards. Regardless, there were a lot of freakin’ exclamation marks on all the signs. Geesh!

A notice above the toy box told parents to put everything away before going in to see the doctor. Signs lined another wall but I couldn’t read them from my vantage point. I did overhear a woman’s comments to her husband about a charge for getting refills over the phone. Also, something about the office not wanting a list of your meds, they needed to see the meds. For some unfortunates, it would be like Santa hauling a sack over his shoulder. One large poster advised patients to avoid certain clinics in the city. Wow.

I searched for something upbeat or cheery, like a bright yellow happy face, a picture of old folks holding hands, or children playing. Even a puppy or kitten would have been nice. Colourful balloon posters or white fluffy clouds in a blue sky would have been calming and maybe kept the old blood pressure from rising. Perhaps they could post a sign in a cheery font that says, We Value our Patients, or Take Care of Your Health. Something positive.

Are the signs even necessary? A little bit of common sense goes a long way. Why not just give a gentle reminder to the odd clod who doesn’t have the sense to remove mud-caked or snow-covered shoes? Or maybe a word to the one patient in a million who brings a Big Mac into the examination room. Are there that many patients wandering through with takeout orders that the sign writer has to make a public address about food and drink?

A fragrance free environment is great. But if you arrive for your appointment wearing a pungent scent (no excuse) and read the sign, what should you do? Because if you cancel the appointment once you’re there, you have to pay for it, girlie. And until that amount is paid, don’t even think of booking another visit. That’s what the sign said. And let’s face it, your scent will linger long after you depart in a huff. No, unless the fragrance is overpowering (who would do that??) it might be better if the sign writer printed off little notices to hand out to offenders. But, hey, don’t yell at all of us.

Come to think of it, body odour is offensive, too, but I didn’t notice a sign telling us to bathe and use deodorant. That would certainly warrant some strong punctuation. Maybe I’ll suggest it on my next visit.

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