DELETE WHAT DOESN’T MATTER

While waiting for a flight yesterday, I heard the same PA announcement several times: “Effective June 30, 2008, smoking is prohibited in the airport.”

The “smoking is prohibited” part I fully understand. But what’s the bit with the “effective June 30”? That’s more than a year ago. Does the date the ban went into effect really matter? Do we want people to think, “Gosh, I shouldn’t smoke in the terminal,” or is it really important that they mentally add, “and I haven’t been able to do so since June 30, 2008”?

That’s a more common problem than you might expect. Long after a change takes effect, the organization making the change continues to post the date it took place. And more often than not, that date is immaterial. It reminds me of the business down the street that has its hours posted on the door as “1997 HOURS.” I can only assume that its 2009 hours are the same. (But why was it important to designate them as “1997 hours” in the first place?)

Look around your place of business, and you might also find signs, brochures, and other items that carry dates or other information that mattered once upon a time, but that have since become useless appendages. Please do everyone a favor, and make them go away. Besides ridding the world of something that has no benefit, you won’t look like you haven’t been paying attention.

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