As a Courtesy to the Next Passenger

by Chris MacDonald

courtesyThis is arguably my favourite normative sign ever, and perhaps the one that inspired my interest in the topic. (Click the image to enlarge!) It’s from the bathroom of an Air Canada jet. It’s a sign over the sink that says, “As a courtesy to the next passenger, may we suggest you use towel to wipe off the wash basin.”

I love this because of the way it appeals to courtesy in what is otherwise a highly normative and indeed highly regulated environment. A passenger jet is just abuzz with injunctions and limits and prohibitions and admonitions. All sorts of stuff is just plain forbidden. But in the bathroom, along with various prohibitions (e.g., tampering with the smoke detector!) is this one lovely suggestion that you might just want to do something courteous for the next person to use the facilities.