Monday, February 15, 2016

sign of the times

Remember that little wind storm named Patricia that blew through here in October?

My neighbors did yeoman work in getting our coastal villages back in order. When the northerners arrived this winter with questions of the hurricane damage, there was little evidence to show that a major storm had barreled through here months before.

But not everything was repaired. The blown-out Banamex sign in San Patricio (the only bank in our little burg) hung around like Poe's raven reminding us that all had not yet been set right.

Our bank branch must be rather low on the managerial totem pole when it comes to getting repairs. The electronic turn counter in the lobby has not worked for years -- much to the consternation of northern neurotics. But our turn for sign repair came up a couple weeks ago.

I was having lunch at Rooster's and noticed a truck had pulled into the bank's tiny parking lot taking up what little space there is in which to abandon one's car while waiting in interminable lines. A new sign was waiting patiently for the crew to hoist it into place.

But that is not what really caught my attention. The crew had very carefully reeled out police tape to establish a work perimeter. But the sign was going up while the bank was open, so what would have been a no-cross zone in Manhattan was left open as a pedestrian pass-through for customers.

This is the type of story that gives the supporters of OSHA and its ilk nightmares. And there is no doubt the situation presented some tangible danger to passersby.

But, as my Mexican friends would (and did) ask me: How many people were hurt in this Killer Sign Project? And the honest answer would have to be: none.

Mexico is filled with similar (and far worse) examples of improvised solutions that are not to be found in any corporate safety manual. Work gets done. And, yes, there are some injuries. But I suspect things are fixed here with far more efficiency and at less cost than in Canada or The States.

For me, that is a fair trade.

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