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February 05, 2016


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So many problems. How about: "Ask us about our new lobby hours, we haven't sorted it all out yet."

Shelley Manes

New Hours for Lobby
Effective Feb. 16, 2016
M-F 6:30 am - 6:30 pm
Sat 6:30 am - 3:30 pm
Sun Closed


I agree with the answer above. It is clear and concise, while giving important information.

George Raymond

Keep the tone positive: Say when you're open, not when you're closed.

Johni J. Peckinpaugh

THE LOBBY will be CLOSED nights and week ends beginning February16, 2016
Monday through Friday
6:30 p.m to 6:30 a.m
Saturday after 3:30 p.m. and
All Day on Sundays.

Business Writing Blog

Thanks for your replies, everyone.

To my mind, Shelley got it right. She focused on when the lobby is open, which is what customers want to know.

Because it's a sign on a door, with plenty of room, I would spell out the days of the week, as the post office did. I'd also add the traditional periods in a.m. and p.m.

Below is my version. Please imagine the lines as spaces--I can't get the spacing as I would like it in this comment box, so the lines represent spaces. My goal is to indent Monday and Saturday and to have both renderings of 6:30 a.m. line up vertically.

Effective Feb. 16, 2016

__Monday - Friday__6:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.
__Saturday________6:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.


Shall I take a new sign to my post office?



For me, the original version was clear enough. It's just a matter to take the time to read!

Business Writing Blog

Hi Ale,

Unfortunately, a sign on a door should not take more than a few seconds to read. Otherwise, people have to stand and block the doorway that others would like to walk through.



There could be more than one sign, I suppose. The one on the door could say "New lobby hours start Feb. 16. Details inside."

It is equally appalling and amusing how often a little sign, one intended to relieve uncertainty or irritation, actually makes the situation worse. A member of our technical staff once pleaded with me to intervene in "the imminent refrigerator apocalypse."

She was referring to signs that the Admin staff posted on our refrigerators every Wednesday afternoon. The signs read "All items will be thrown away in refrigerators at 6 p.m. on Thursday."

I convinced the Admin group to adopt less baleful wording.

Business Writing Blog

Hi Jim,

Bad signs CAN drive us crazy. Thanks for the good (bad) example.



I like these little "homework assignments" that you give us, Lynn! I would agree with everyone above that the emphasis should be on when the lobby is open rather than when it is closed.
Personally, I would also edit "We apologize for the inconvenience." to read "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.", simply because not everyone is necessarily going to be inconvenienced by this change in lobby hours. Do you or your readers have any thoughts about this rephrasing?

Business Writing Blog

Alicia, good point! I would prefer not to make the message longer, so I would stop with "any inconvenience."

I have been thinking about whether the sign should include the reason for the shorter hours. I have heard the reason was to reduce vandalism and to avoid having homeless people spend the night in the post office. However, I have decided that information does not belong on a sign. Having it there might inflame people's views on homelessness, which is currently a huge, charged topic in Seattle.

Those who wonder about the reason could find out from the employees at the counter.

Thanks for stopping by.



This was an excellent post. I've enjoyed reading the comments! Lynn, your idea to spell out the days of the week (when space permits) DOES make a difference in the way it's read. I will now file that away in the "future reference" area of my brain.

Business Writing Blog

Martha, I am glad you found this discussion helpful.


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