In a cafeteria where I eat lunch most days, a sign attached to the register says:
Please note that credit cards are not accepted as means of payment.
This bothers me.
I don’t care about them not accepting credit cards. It’s the words that drive me crazy. So that they can drive you crazy too, let’s break it down.
There are twelve words. The first three are:
Please note that
This is entirely useless. It’s a note; you’re already reading it. You have to be in the process of noting to even encounter their please note in the first place. It’s like putting up a sign that says “Sign.” Drop it.
The next five words are:
credit cards are not accepted
This is less egregious, but still full of fluff. Are not accepted? Just say “No credit cards” and be done. Five words down to three.
Finally, we have this monstrosity:
as means of payment
Yes. We can’t accept credit cards as means of payment. Credit cards for starting tarot decks, for picking locks, for infringing on Apple’s “rounded rectangle” patent, any other use is fine, just not for payment.
Payment is what you do with credit cards. It’s in the name: “credit.” Four more pointless words cannot be imagined. Drop them.
From twelve words, we’ve hacked it down to three:
No credit cards.
Or four, if we want to preserve the politeness:
No credit cards please.
A cut of 75% and 66.67%, respectively.
Life is short. Messages should be too.
This public service announcement brought to you by the Heartless Unpleasant Misanthropic Bureau of United Grammarians, HUMBUG.