The Loblaws on Rideau Street has two huge moving ramps to bring shoppers and grocery carts from the parking garage up to the store level and back down. A cool thing about the ramps is that they have a special feature that locks the cart wheels so that the carts cannot role down the ramps, even when they are completely loaded.
Today I noticed they have new signs at the top and bottom of the ramps that say "Caution! No Restricted Traffic".
They are nice big signs. Even if there is someone out there manufacturing them in bulk, they must have cost $100 each with the mounting brackets and installation. To me, it's a lot of money and effort to convey absolutely no message.
Here are my theories on what the signs might mean:
- We are not supposed to interfere with the movement of people and carts on the ramps. (Like by leaving a grocery cart at the ramp entrance and walking away.)
- If we have trouble walking, we aren't allowed to use the ramps.
- We are not supposed to take certain wheeled objects on the ramps (strollers? personal grocery carts? bicycles?).
- At some point the locking system for the carts failed and they haven't removed the signs now that the carts are locking to the tracks again.
My experience with pointing this sort of thing out to people is that because they know what they mean with their sign, they figure I am stupid for not knowing. So I'm not going to write a letter to Loblaws suggesting they change their signs to something that actually communicates to people.
However, if by some chance, you've googled something like loblaws ramp caution restricted traffic because you had an unfortunate experience with the ramps at Loblaws and the authorities there told you that you should have known better because they had the CAUTION sign, you can say, "I know a lawyer with a degree in cognitive science from MIT who spent half a day trying to figure out what your stupid signs mean and he came up empty."