Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Signs of satisfaction

Loved the sign outside the offices of a car park company in London: ‘where would you like to park today?’

My first thought was ‘Who are you talking to? I’m in a bus.’

But how would I have reacted had I been in a car? The question would scarcely be less stupid. Where do I want to park? What other answer would I be likely to give than ‘preferably somewhere reasonably near where I’m going’?

But hold on: the implication behind the question is that this might be a matter for some kind of choice. We might decide, say, to travel to Hull or Huntingdon not because we wanted to visit either of those fine towns but to re-live a memorable parking experience. We might choose, in other words, our destination on the basis of the car parking facilities.

It was just one simple sign but the smile it provided me was just the satisfaction I needed at the end of a good but tiring day. Previously I’d thought the most imbecilic signs were those announcing ‘Good food served here’. How often do people put up signs saying ‘plentiful but mediocre food?’ or ‘food OK but portions miserable’?

But ‘where do you want to park’ really takes the ticket. You couldn’t invent it.

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