Shoppers at Coastlands, Paraparaumu, find the following sign ‘rude’, ‘bossy’, and ‘intimidating’.
Yuk. That’s certainly a very complicated sign. It has long sentences (up to 69 words!), lots of legal terms (bona fide, indemnify), multi-level numbering, and a heavy-handed tone. Even using ‘you’ and ‘we’ doesn’t make it any friendlier. And let’s be honest: any public sign that needs an ‘interpretation’ section clearly needs help!
Old-fashioned legal language just isn’t necessary in today’s world. Certainly not in the car park of your local friendly shopping mall.
As far as we can tell, this sign aims to cover the parking company legally while its enforcement officers deal with parking issues. Fair enough. It may achieve that purpose.
Does it also aim to clearly tell car drivers their responsibilities? Probably. But it hasn’t achieved that.
The thing this sign seems to achieve best is making people annoyed and creating bad publicity. A bad tone creates bad feeling, and that’s the quickest way to lose or aggravate customers.
No. Contracts can be legally binding while still sounding ‘human’. We would have loved to create this sign in plain, user-friendly English. We’re pretty sure it wouldn’t have made the news, but it would have done its job beautifully (and still kept the lawyers happy).