Reading the Signs

I’m sitting in a downtown Starbucks in Winnipeg, doing some online work, drinking a coffee. There’s a sign on the door outside, and another one on the second door in the entryway that says “Attention Customers: Due to technical difficulties we will ONLY be accepting credit, debit, or Starbucks cards. NO CASH!! Sorry for the inconvenience – Team Broadway”. I should mention that the all-caps words are highlighted in orange and green, and double-underlined.

Everyone (well, almost) stops to read the first sign, standing outdoors, sometimes holding the door open as they read. Those who skip the first sign will usually do the same process at the second sign. And in case you ignored both of those, there’s one on the cash register.

Yes, I had to ask. I too thought cash was the one payment method not subject to technical difficulties. Silly me. It seems that their cash is locked up and they can’t get at it. I neglected to ask why, then, they couldn’t just accept exact change until they had enough of a float to operate normally.

I also failed to ask why the signs look so obnoxiously like something is very wrong, so customers feel apprehension as they stare at it trying to decide whether or not they can still purchase coffee on the proffered terms. And in the past hour, I’ve noticed a total of one person look at the sign outdoors and walk away. And I wonder if she actually read it.