Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph shows workmen who have accidentally trapped their van within a barrier of bollards.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, June 2007]
Origins: The iconic image used to represent the concept of "failure to plan ahead" is a picture of the hapless homeowner who, on the verge of completing the task of painting or
A few things about the claimed interpretations of the photograph don't ring true, however. First off, the picture has typically been accompanied by text placing it in a variety of locales (e.g., Manchester, England; Dublin, Ireland; and Norman, Oklahoma), in some cases as a way of taking potshots at rival groups by portraying them as foolish or unintelligent. (Norman, for example, is home to the University of Oklahoma, so the transplantation of the photo's setting from the UK to Oklahoma is an obvious form of collegiate rivalry.) The actual location, as indicated by the
More important, though, is the fact that the bollards shown in the photograph appear to be of a type designed so that they can be removed and replaced with blanking caps (and thus the departure of the workmen's van is likely not as problematic as it might appear):
A cannon style bollard that is ideal for environments where preservation of a period or architectural style is desirable. Precision manufactured from Durapol® material, Victory Bollard is maintenance-free, requires no painting and will not rust, chip or splinter. The unique Glasdon patented Key-Locking Socket System gives the flexibility of a permanent, temporary or semi-permanent application. The system allows bollards to be removed and replaced with a blanking cap that locks securely into the socket using the same key.Last updated: 19 February 2008
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