So I visited a friend’s parents for Memorial Day, for an afternoon of grilling and such. They live in a lake community out in the country. It happens to be a gated community. After approaching the gate guard, explaining that we were on a list, and answering some questions, we were handed a slip of paper. It reads as follows:
Fairfield plantation is a private community. This access has been granted as a privilege by the Property Owners’ Association. You should proceed directly to the address as noted on the reverse side and proceed directly back to the gate when your visit is concluded. Please obey ALL posted speed limits and other traffic regulations. Violation of these or failure to display this card may subject you to removal from property. This card is non-transferable and is good ONLY for the date(s) shown. Thank you for your cooperation.
The only thing missing was yellow armbands. I’m quite sure I spied some goose-stepping behind the guardhouse.
Other than being mildly entertaining, is there something to be learned here? Well…yes.
Here’s the thing: Criminals are going to be criminals no matter what your blue piece of paper says. Litterbugs don’t pay attention to signs, and the only people that will violate a "no solicitors" sign is solicitors. A mean warning does little to stop unwanted behavior, rather it serves to make people that would normally follow the rules want to break them.
It’s no more effort to be nice. And it usually works better.