… a restaurant in France were going to put up a notice saying ‘Mobile phones not allowed’. But it’s kind of a Michelin-starred place and it’s a bit weird bossing your customers around. It tends to create reactants, where people immediately think of a reason why this rule doesn’t apply to them. You know, oh it’s important my children can get hold of me, or something like that.
Now 99.9% of people would have put up that notice. This restaurant didn’t. They found a spot where the notice was ostensibly targeted at people leaving the restaurant, but was completely visible to everybody walking in. What the notice said was ‘Please remember to turn your cell phone back on when you leave. Thank you’.
What they did is they created an implicit social norm which their au naturel, sophisticated customers would not dream of violating by, for instance, making loud calls about the NASDAQ in the middle of a Michelin-starred meal. It basically made people feel, ‘I’d better turn my phone off because that’s what everybody else is doing, and it would look a bit naff not to do so’.
From: It’s time to embrace the mess