Opinion

All she wants is some peace and quiet

With no proactive by-law in place to guide them, city council finds themselves snared in a tangle of permit variances for LED signs. Having already given permission for Boston Pizza to install blinking signs that assault drivers’ eyeballs, council March 10 gave permission for Your Decor to put up a bright sign with moving images opposite Tim Hortons on Keith Avenue.

Council granted this variance despite ICBC’s report that the Tim Horton’s intersection already has the highest incidence of traffic accidents. Putting up a winking sign will add one more distraction for motorists. As a senior, keeping my attention on the traffic light, parched drivers intent on turning in for a Roll Up the Rim, and gauging the possibility of jump-the-gun drivers, all I need is one more moving object to filter out.

Maybe council looks upon LED signs as a subtle way to thin the ever-burgeoning ranks of Terrace seniors? A surreptitious means of easing demand for long term care beds? For senior housing?

Studies show a higher incidence of traffic accidents near bright signs, according to a report in The Terrace Standard.

LED flashing signs in the Skeena Mall trouble me not a whit, since they are off to one side away from intersecting traffic lanes. But to permit a flashing sign at one of the busiest intersections in town, an intersection already with a proven, higher than average incidence of traffic accidents? What was council thinking?

Speaking only for myself, flashing signs won’t lure me to an establishment. If anything, I may re-route to avoid them.

Flashing signs outside stores rank right up there with booming background in-store music,  Unnecessarily loud music is irritating, not to mention physically troublesome to some customers. I know two people who suffer disorientation and balance problems if they spend much time shopping in a supermarket with high decibel music. Yet management has pooh-poohed their requests to lower the volume.

On successive visits to one supermarket I’ve noticed each time around 11 a.m. the same vapid lyrics whine, no doubt a rewind tape of some sort, broadcast so loud if I meet a friend in some departments our conversation is drowned.. The “music” also interferes when I seek direction from an employee to find a particular item I rarely if ever buy in that store.

If I can’t locate what I want to buy, chalk up one lost sale. I realize my failure to buy one or two products if I can’t locate them by myself won’t bankrupt the company, but how many similar potential sales might the company lose across Canada owing to its chain saw level “music”?

A few employees have told me they, too, would prefer a quieter workplace.But they dare not protest to management. I don’t bother to try. If I must shop a store with deafening music, my coping ploy is to carry a list and stick to it. That way I can whip through the store grabbing only what I came for, and exit with dispatch.

Meandering and strolling about I reserve for the library or book store, neither of which pummels my ears with unbidden background noise.

I understand stores’ relentless hunt to attract new customers and capture more shopping dollars. To achieve that, alerting passing prospects to their presence and wares makes sense ... but not if it puts at risk the safety of motorists distracted by their flashing signs.

Assuring customers of quality merchandise at competitive prices will keep them coming back. Always treating a customer courteously and making every reasonable effort to satisfy their shopping quirks will result in free word-of-mouth recommendations, far better, less expensive, and more reliable than any LED sign.

 

 

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