Sign errors of the day

June 2, 2018 • 12:45 pm

This sign, photographed by reader Will, has one apostrophe error and a completely obscure description of a tap. Will noted this when he sent it to me:

This is a sad sign of our times in several respects, I think. (Photographed today in the rest room of a fish & chip shop in Wells-Next-the-Sea, Norfolk, England.)

When I asked him what a “motion censored” tap was, he responded, “I discovered it meant the taps were fitted which motion sensors, which turn the water on when you put your hands beneath them. Of course, it COULD mean the owners were offended by the concept of taps which move when twisted — and had decided to take appropriate action.”

I thought it was a tap that you could twist only a limited amount!

I emailed Platten’s Fish and Chips to help them, showing that I can be as much of a grammar Nazi as anyone. I think it would be fun if a bunch of readers wrote them polite letters! The email address is below:

51 thoughts on “Sign errors of the day

      1. It is so funny how all kinds of foods that never contained gluten in the first place, now have a “gluten free” label on them. I now ask for extra gluten when I order.

        1. Yeah – that’s so true. Sainsbury’s “Free From” range is 115% RRP of the standard product & includes standard items relabelled that don’t have gluten anyway.

            1. P.S. I make sure I always buy gluten-free power tools, asbestos-free soft-drinks, rust-resistant coffee, and fat-free auto accessories.


            1. I suffered ‘dyspepsia'(aka, heartburn or oesophagal reflux) for 8 years despite H+ and/or H2 inhibitors + antacids.
              A colleague of mine advised me to try the “Paleo-diet”. Haven’t had heartburn and off medication since (unless eating starches). I’m not really on that diet, just a ‘watered down’ version: no grains (like wheat & rye) and little overall starches. And no more beer…
              I do not know if it is the gluten, but the effects of eating wheat products are nearly immediate, heartburn after just a few hours.
              And yes, that includes crumbed fish, hence my remark.
              For people with coeliac disease (no, I’m not a sufferer), in some areas more than 1% of the population (in some even 1 in 40!), a ‘gluten-free’ restaurant is pure gold. Therefore I’d say it is more than just a ‘fad’: it is a thoughtful gesture to coeliac patients.

              1. It is a fad & it is a scam.

                You are of the 1% who have celiac disease & you benefit from being gluten free. But you aren’t a member of the group [half of the US population!] who have been persuaded their lives would be better without gluten in their diet. This is absurd. We are lucky that going gluten free appears to have little or no negative consequences.

                The chip shop is offering gluten free days because there’s a demand. Good business.

              2. Michael, I beg to disagree.
                1% of the population would translate to about 3 million people in the US alone (about the size of Ms Clinton’s win in popular votes 😆).For those there is no argument, gluten is out.
                I know there is a lot ado about gluten. We do not really know what or how much it actually does do. As said, I do not know if my Gord (gastro oesophagal reflux disease) is caused by gluten, but it is definitely induced by grains like wheat or rye, and not by rice or potatoes.
                I wonder (note, I do not say there actually is) if there is more to gluten than just celiac disease. The number of people that want ‘gluten free’ might be a fad indeed, but it might also be because many are better off without gluten. We simply don’t know.

          1. Hi Nicky – Our comment boxes are getting narrow so I’ve started the thread again higher up 🙂

            I am in sympathy with your position that we don’t know about the role of gluten in the diet beyond those 1% with celiac disease [gluten-sensitive enteropathy], but it is my argument that there are individuals & companies out there boosting an anti-gluten agenda in the same way as there’s an anti-GMO agenda.

            Now let me take GORD [or GERD] as an example, but bear in mind I’m NOT referring to you!

            [1] The two sites I checked [NHS & WebMD] recommend avoiding coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, alcohol & fatty or spicy food – maybe also avoid acidic stuff such as lemon juice. Plus other measures such as sleeping position & smaller portion sizes. Absolutely no mention of gluten.

            [2] There are clinical studies that show the symptoms of GORD [or GERD] can be alleviated by going gluten-free – I don’t have time to check the sizes of the studies nor the independence

            [3] But then I go to another site that recommends gluton-packed oats for breakfast to calm down the heartburn associated with GORD!

            [4] Then I go to another site [Gluten Free Society run by a “Dr.” Peter Osborne – a doctor of chiropractic] & he is using fear & ignorance to line his pockets – he has a huge long list of stuff to avoid [certain envelopes for example!] & the site is packed with affiliate links & stuffz to buy such as cookbooks & genetic testing kits. His FAQ says certain products contain gluten that I know for a fact do not such as plain rice & most forms of corn. To read all the content you have to join the society too for $70 I think it is. There are many, many people out there running websites conning people about gluten-free diets & he is one of them.

            People with legitimate medical problems are being provided with conflicting advice. And the truth is very fuzzy!

            eg A person on certain chemo drugs for example needs to have gluten even if they happen to be gluten sensitive.

            eg Another person who was seriously ill with an infection has finally been taken off a course of antibiotics that mucked up [destroyed] their normal gut flora/fauna & they find after many months that they’ve returned to a new ‘normal’ that’s different from the ‘normal’ that existed prior to the infection.

            eg My sister’s mate is a bit of an uniformed gluten nutter + lactose intolerant nutter + nuts sensitive nutter. 🙂 She won’t have this, won’t have that blah blah, but she used to stuff her face with foods that she didn’t realise contained milk & nuts – no ill effect until this was pointed out to her. She’s now decided she might have IBS & the game continues….

            The western world is full of ‘talk’ about food & diets like never before [a sea change compared with my distant youth] & nearly all of it is column inch bollocks. My GP is an old university friend & she says her daily clinics run seven minutes longer per consultation because patients know a lot more & pepper her with poor, irrelevant questions based on wrong info or misinterpreted info. To run her practise within the time constraints she has stopped personally giving correctives to the nonsense – if she knows the patients beliefs are harmless rot [such as vitamin pills mostly are for example], she now says “if it works for you”…

            I had a clinic with a surgeon around three weeks ago & I said I was trying lactose-free milk because upset stomach – just an experiment. His less experienced colleague began to explain it was probably my antibiotics course, but the surgeon shut him up quickly & said “whatever works for you Michael…” 🙂

            1. PS Something I wrote above was bothering me when I woke up [how does that happen?] so I’ve double checked:

              “[3] But then I go to another site that recommends gluton-packed oats for breakfast to calm down the heartburn associated with GORD!”

              I went to the Quaker Oats site & found this:

              “New Quaker Gluten-Free Instant Oatmeal. … Oats are naturally gluten-free, but stray wheat, rye, or barley can be introduced during the harvesting and transportation. At Quaker, we’ve used our 139 years of expertise to design a proprietary method for removing stray grains”

              Thus it would be very bad luck to be served “gluton-packed” oats!

              Here is the pricing for normal, organic & gluten free oats from one brand:

              Sainsbury’s Scottish Porridge Oats 500g
              Sainsbury’s Porridge Oats, SO Organic 750g
              Sainsbury’s Deliciously Free From Oats 450g

              It must cost a fortune to screen for rebel wheat, rye & barley grains sneaking across the oats border. Build That Wall!

    1. Aesthetics! A bathroom without taps just isn’t a bathroom. (Yes, that was supposed to be funny.)

      1. Because all of this stuff comes from twitter or something similar I am just automatically suspicious. Been in a few auto bathrooms where the toilets flush, the water and paper towels auto but no taps/knobs. I just have to be critical on these things. However, when overseas, expect anything.

        1. The advantage of auto taps of course is that, if you’re phobic about germs (which is surely why you’re washing your hands in the first place) you don’t have to worry about what the last user might have left on the knobs. Same applies to a self-opening toilet door.


  1. My cousin-in-law has a book of signs with weird English from all over the world, including an English sign in an Argentine bathroom saying “To flush, turn cock to right”.

    1. Being an Englishman of a certain age, I’m afraid this reminds me of the exchange from The Goon Show:

      Seagoon: Come in man!
      Eccles: How do I get in?
      Seagoon: You turn the knob on your side!
      Eccles: But I haven’t got a knob on my side.

      If this makes no sense at all – well, that was one of the main aims of the show.

      1. PS: it also reminds me of the instructions allegedly written on a fire extinguisher:

        “To operate, stand upside down and bang knob on floor”.

  2. When I went to stay in Robert Frost’s house in Franconia, NH, I noticed, on my way into town, signs that said “Frost Heaves.” I took it to be a slur on Frost, as in “Frost Sucks.” I later found out that it was a caution about pavement mounds formed by expansion due to frost. Who knew?

    1. I heard a student who lived a floor above me at a university residence hall occasionally refer to the nearest campus cafeteria as the “Gag and Heave.”

  3. When I was young I took the bus that went past a feed store on the way to school. They had a large sign in the window that read:


    I could see a chest freezer through the large window. Another chest freezer sat beside it, without any sign.
    I always wondered what was in that other freezer.

  4. Also e-mailed them

    Although I feel a bit guilty that we are interfering with the amusement of future visitors…

  5. People look exceptionally foolish when they don’t spell-check a sign they put up. One place I used to frequent had a sign in the men’s room:

    Don’t spit your gum into the urnal.

Leave a Reply