Warning: stupidity ahead

2 March, 2010

Here’s another instalment in an occasional series of shocking spelling or grammar in public signage or the media. This photo was taken recently at the entrance to a public car park near Christchurch in Dublin.

What’s funny (and depressing at the same time) is that a large corporation drafted, manufactured and issued an important sign that was by definition intended for public consumption, and failed to correct a blatant spelling mistake.

There must have been dozens of people who interacted with the wording of the sign between the time of its initial drafting and the date on which it was erected. It is positively bizarre that nobody intervened to correct the howler.

If I were an executive in the car parking company involved, I would have made sure it never saw the light of day. This would apply even if I was of the view that spelling didn’t really matter as along as the meaning is clear; for I would know that there are many people out there who believe that spelling does matter, and why should I annoy even a minority (if it is a minority) of customers?

Indeed why even run the risk that a few people will assume that such carelessness is indicative of a wider carelessness in the management of the car park, and therefore avoid it in favour of a car park where there is a slightly better chance their car won’t be damaged or stolen?

I was in Barrow Street recently, and I had occasion to buy a “pay and display” ticket to allow me to park.  I noticed that parking charges applied on Monday through Saturday, not just Monday through Friday.  Why is this? 

Surely the main point of charges for parking is (or should be) to provide a mechanism for rationing, in an economically sensible way, a scarce resource?  The fact that charges apply on Saturday, when there is no pressure on parking in a place like Barrow Street, exposes perhaps the real reason for the charges: to raise revenue. 

This is an example of a public authority being dishonest with its constituents.  Read the rest of this entry »