16 December 2009

It Must Be a Sign

Currently, I have two signs on the window of my office, right next to my sign-in sheet.
They read:
"We currently do not have any winter coats or boots at our facility at this time"
"ID appointments are full for the month of December. We will have walk-in hours on Mondays and Wednesdays beginning in January"

This morning, I have been asked 8 times if we have any coats or boots available, and 5 people have signed up to inquire about an ID appointment. I even had one woman point to the sign that said we had no winter gear available, and ask, "Do you still have these?" Not knowing how to reply to that question, I said "Yes, we still do not have any more coats or boots available." Wrong answer, probably.

We have signs saying what our hours are. We have signs stating the purpose of each office. We have signs advertising events. We put up signs to answer what we predict to be the most commonly asked questions, and yet they remain the most commonly asked questions.

This may be due to illiteracy, due to lack of attention, due to the fact that may of the minds are on other things, many of these eyes have been trained to skim over surroundings to find life, or to find other eyes.

But sometimes I know they have read the signs. Sometimes, I will tell the same person the same information every day, and then I begin to see that the information itself is less relevant, but the human connection is key. I am beginning to think that our signs serve less to avoid questions, but sometimes start them; act as conversation pieces.
When there's nothing to talk about, you talk about whatever is on the walls.
When you don't have a reason to meet with someone, you look for one... and find it right next to the sign-in sheet.

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