In Dr. Seuss’ storybook, “The Cat in the Hat” adds activities to amuse two kids until things go awry and he says,
“This mess is so big, so great and so tall,
There’s no way to fix it! There’s no way at all!”
And that’s how I feel after six months of trying to persuade a store manager to replace an exit stop sign which went missing last March from atop a signpost in his store’s parking lot.
Every grocery shopping trip for weeks I have pointed out this absent stop sign not only to the manager but to at least three cashiers. Some of them more than once. Without action.
The primary purpose of a stop sign is traffic safety. The sign is there to notify and remind drivers they must stop before proceeding, and to assign vehicular right of way at an intersection.
If a stop sign has been deemed essential to encourage safety at a particular intersection, and such a sign has been mounted on the premises, if that metal sign goes missing – whether by violent action of a vehicle turning too close, or deliberately removed by after hours vandals unscrewing the two bolts – would it not seem reasonable as well as financially wise for a supermarket to replace the hexagonal plate immediately to ensure traffic safety of its customers exiting from its parking lot?
Suppose after shopping a customer prepares to exit the parking lot and momentarily forgets to stop and look both ways because there’s no stop sign to act as a reminder, then is T-boned by a vehicle driving by on the straightaway. One or both involved drivers could sue the store for damages.
Those damages might include not only vehicular repairs but hospitalization and chiropractic treatment of the drivers and any passengers.
Now I realize damages would not come out of the manager’s pay. Insurance would cover any liability costs. And perhaps this is one reason the manager has not made a move to rectify this potentially dangerous situation in half a year.
This same situation prevailed one year ago. And it took about as long for the same manager to replace the stop sign and prune the hedges to a legal height of 36 inches so customers exiting the parking lot could see approaching traffic.
Because this exact same situation occurred one year ago, perhaps a snow plow clearing the parking lot flung the stop sign into a snowbank. But that’s no excuse to let this dangerous situation persist.
Each week I begin my shopping tour at this store. Each week I hope to see that stop sign back in place.
But no such luck, though the manager once met me at the front door, asked me to point out which exit needed a stop sign, and said , “I’m going right over to get a stop sign and put it up,” … three weeks ago.
I’ve spoken to the city, Nechako Northcoast, highways department and the RCMP. But because the sign sits on private property none of them has jurisdiction to replace the sign or even to lean on the manager until he replaces the sign.
Frustrated I emailed the supermarket’s head office through its website.
October 13 Geraldine in Customer Relations replied: “I have had a chance to share your concern with the store manager and he has let me know that since his last conversation with you, he has been outsourcing suppliers to try to find out where he would be able to order these signs from and he has just recently found a local company that will be able to produce them for him and should have them in place by early next week. Please note that all the lanes in the parking lot are also identified with the word “STOP” and stop lines are painted on the ground at the end of each lane for customers to see. Please continue to let us know how we’re doing as your feedback is one of the best ways for us to improve.”