Opinion: See It, Say It, Shut Up! By Brandon Robshaw

Opinion: See It, Say It, Shut Up! By Brandon Robshaw

One of the few blessings about lockdown – unremarked at the time – was that one no longer had to hear that maddening security announcement, broadcast with obsessive frequency by Transport for London and, as far as I can tell, all the national rail networks: ‘See it, say it, sorted.’ 

Now that I’m taking public transport regularly again, it’s driving me mad again. ‘See it, say it, sorted.’ As soon as the voice begins, ‘This is a security announcement’, I grit my teeth in anticipation of what’s coming; and when it gets to that bright, smug, fatuous slogan ‘See it, say it, sorted’ I want to cover my ears and shout out ‘La la la can’t hear you!’ like a little kid in the playground. 

It’s ubiquitous. I have heard it in London, Leicester and Lancashire. On a recent journey to Norwich I heard it no fewer than fourteen times. ‘If you see something that doesn’t look right, please tell a member of staff. We’ll sort it. See it, say it, sorted.’  Fourteen times.  And that’s just the times I heard it. The asinine slogan is plastered all over posters too, so that should the tannoy briefly fall silent, you can have the pleasure of reading it instead. See it, say it, sorted.

What is going on? I would estimate – and I’m subject to correction on this – that this moronic mantra has been in use for over three years. And far from showing any signs of abating, it’s on the increase. At my local underground station it’s played on a loop. I’ve never travelled either up or down the escalator without hearing it and quite often I hear it on the platform as well, before the train moves off. And when I alight at my destination you can bet your house and everything in it that I’ll hear it again. See it, say it, sorted.

See it, say it, sorted. I try to share my irritation by making exasperated, sympathy-seeking faces at other commuters when I hear it but they rarely respond. Perhaps this is because sharing emotions on public transport is not the done thing. Perhaps it’s because my mask makes my expression too hard to read – though I do try to compensate for that by groaning and muttering as if in anguish. Perhaps people think I’m a nutter. And perhaps they’re right. But if so, it’s because that infuriating admonition has made me a nutter. See it, say it, sorted.

See it, say it, sorted. I’d be curious to know if the creative genius who thought up that slogan is proud of themselves. Even if it was a clever or amusing slogan – even if it was ‘Put a tiger in your tank’ or ‘Go to work on an egg’ – I wouldn’t want to hear it umpteen times a day, every day. And ‘See it, say it, sorted’ is far from clever. It only just about makes sense.  It’s wince-inducing. It’s barely even grammatical. And I don’t think it can be effective, either. People do not respond well to being nagged. We don’t like being urged to do the same thing over and over again. We’re more likely, as a result of being badgered incessantly, to see something that doesn’t look right and say bugger-all about it. 

See it, say it – shut up!

Read Brandon Robshaw's blog here.

 

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