No Shelter for You!

by Chris MacDonald

tornado_doorHere’s yet another example of what I lovingly refer to as a ‘normatively rich environment,’ in this case an exit door at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. As always with such environments, the first thing to note is that richness really means complexity, which means important normative messages are easy to misunderstand, or miss altogether.

Thanks to Wayne Norman yet again for the pic.

Here are a couple other things to note:

First, take a look at the red Warning sign on the right, which explains the penalty for failure to use your ID badge when exiting through this door. The “minimum” fine is $100, but that fine only “may” be imposed, or not, and in the latter case as Wayne points out the true minimum fine is $0.

Next, consider the pairing of signs at the left-hand side of the door. The top one indicates that this door leads to a “Severe weather shelter area.” Unfortunately (for most of us!) the bottom sign says that you need to input a security code prior to using the door. So, in case of tornado, I guess it sucks not to have one of those. (In fact, I suspect the code is only needed in order to avoid an alarm going off, rather than to make the door open, but the sign is at least unclear about that. And in case of tornado, that’s the last thing you need.)