The Messages We Send, and Receive

I was in Greensboro for a short time last evening, and stopped for a bite at a fast food restaurant just south of town. As I started pulling into one of several empty parking slots near the door, I noticed that it was marked “Employee Parking Only.”

Except for the two handicapped parking spaces, all the spaces near the entrance were marked, “Employee Parking Only.”

I wondered what message the management was trying to send.

Were they trying to say, “We value our employees, and want to do what we can for them even though we pay them very little and make them wear funny little cardboard headpieces?” If so, that’s very nice of them to be so considerate of their employees. But the message I got was, “Hey, customers, we like our employees more than we like you.” (Maybe they’d like to add, “Please come in and spend your money anyway.”)

I asked the young man behind the counter about it, and he just laughed. He said I was about the fiftieth customer who had asked since they repainted the parking lot — and that the employees don’t even use the spaces, so we were welcome to them.

So I still don’t know what message they were trying to send. I just hope I can communicate more clearly than that in my own writing — my speechwriting, my nonfiction writing, and my fiction.

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