Sign It Like You Mean It

By: Sarah Gayda

There's a road sign on the way to the Vancouver International Airport that drives me crazy. You can see it along Grant McConachie Way right before getting to the Arrivals and Departures areas. The sign reads Cell Phone Waiting Area. According to its wording — adjectives modifying the noun — this is a place where cell phones wait.

I figure a good advertisement for this sign might look something like this:

  What's the best way to truly disconnect while you're on holiday? Drop your cell phone off at the Cell Phone Waiting Area on your way to YVR.
  Qualified staff offer full supervision, facilitate ring-tone exercises and pamper your baby with daily screen cleans.
  Rest easy while you're away your cell phone is in good hands. 

I'm sold. Especially if waiting area staff respond to my emails and handle my calls while I'm gone as well.

The area is really a small parking lot where people can wait for texts or calls from arriving passengers, so they know when to proceed to the terminal. But is that obvious to everyone speeding along this stretch? Likely not from the signage.

I'm sure some people figure out the sign's intended meaning and make use of the service. However, perhaps a grammatically correct and unambiguous sign would reduce terminal congestion further. If nothing else, it would put this grammar geek's troubled mind at ease.