The Full-bladder Empty-mind paradox

Communication doesn’t always work the way we intend it to.

Consider the case of the door to the men’s loo.

The problem is that if you push the door, you risk banging the door in the face of the guy on the other side.

So, the most obvious solution is put a sign that says, PULL, right?

Wrong. Many sane men (sanity can be a safe assumption as they have atleast found the door to the right loo) still PUSH the door.

Pull the door 1

The next obvious option is to educate them on the consequences of Pushing, right?

Something like – “PLEASE PULL THE DOOR SO THAT YOU DON’T INJURE ANYONE ON THE OTHER SIDE”.

Wrong.

The sane men now feel compelled to still PUSH, although they tend to wait a moment before they push. They listen for sounds of footsteps on the other side, and then give a PUSH. If you go by Nicholas Nassem Taleb’s take on chance occurrences, the probability of a poor bloke on the other side getting his head banged is just the same.

PULL THE DOOR

The only thing to do now is to maybe say PUSH and then hope the guys PULL, right.

And someone’s just gone ahead and done it.

Push the door

As per my guess this works. Corroborated by my own behaviour, too. I was one of the sane men who continued to PUSH my luck when the sign said PULL.

Why do you think this works this way?

Here’s my take:

No one likes to be told what to do

People like to think things through for themselves and come to their own conclusion

And the image (clearly a thoughtless idiot who ignores all good sense) possibly works even stronger than the line.

Which is why when ads say, BUY NOW! consumers feel compelled to run away.

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