Deli flags

April 29, 2012

I was passing by a crosswalk across Mass. Ave. in Lexington this afternoon and I noticed a canister affixed to a light pole, I think, that was labeled something like “crosswalk flags.”  I read the instructions, and it seems that a pedestrian can use the flags (they looked white when I peered into the canister) to get the attention of motorists before venturing out into the crosswalk.  (I think there’s a state law requiring motorists to stop for anyone in a crosswalk, but as a practical matter, this rule is of little comfort if the motorist hasn’t spotted you.)

I don’t think I had ever heard of crosswalk flags before.  I think they might be confusing to a driver who had never heard of them — they might think they were being asked to pull over to offer some kind of assistance, perhaps.  But I can see their usefulness, especially at night.

I can also see an application for them in supermarkets.  At the deli counter, even when they use numbers and tickets, I often have the experience of not being heard when I respond when my number is called, and not being seen over the counter.  (Jordan is not only a foot taller, but is such a good customer of theirs, it’s like old home week when he comes — he gets seen and recognized and chatted up and served lots of samples.)  Flags would be just the thing to get the deli clerk’s attention.

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