What Are You Trying to Tell Me?

This bus bench is located on a street that I travel from time to time.  Every time I drive past I am given to contemplating the motivation behind the message.  Because I stopped today to take a photo, I now have little doubt what the business owner is trying to communicate.  We had a heck of a spring snow storm over the weekend as you can see.  I stopped, brushed snow from the bench, took my picture and now we can now take in all of the message.  But first, if you aren’t from around here let me give you a little background on the business category.

The Province of Alberta privatized the registry business some time ago.  If you want a driver’s license, marriage licence, vehicle registration, a copy of your Alberta birth certificate or even a license to run a raffle for your daughter’s soccer team you go to one of the many privately run registry offices.  Land titles, vital statistics, there’s a lot that they cover.  You can check them out online to understand the scope.

Now back to the message on the bus bench.  When you drive past, even after months of passing this bench all you are left with is “GET OFF THE BUS” and their name.  It’s interesting that the local transit company has a bench imploring people to stop using their service, but I digress.  What does this message say to advocates of public transit?  Does this get their backs up?  What message do we get about the people that are standing at this stop waiting for the bus?  Does the message say “Hey loser, read the bench why don’t you!”  I mean really all you have to do is call or go online and book a road test.  The message seems to assume that people are riding the bus because they don’t have a driver’s license.  There are people on the bus by choice.  It also seems to say that all you need to do to get off the bus is take a road test.  This is clearly not the case.

Sometimes the message delivered differs from the one intended.  Most of the people that pass this bench do so in a private vehicle.  Do these people say, “This message is not aimed at me?”  If they do the money invested in the bench has no return.  This is better, however, than the people that are annoyed.  Give thought to who you are talking to and what they might take from your message.  It’s not what you say but what people think you are saying that matters.

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