My mum lived opposite what used to be called a parade of shops:

Fish & Chip shop, Café, Sweetshop, Grocers, Newsagent, Butchers, Chemist, Iron Monger, Shoe Repairer, Greengrocers, Post Office.

Perfect for all the local pensioners, who didn’t have cars.

Because it was so busy there was always a zebra crossing there and, for a long as I can remember, it worked perfectly.

People stood and waited for the traffic to stop.

When it stopped they crossed.

One day, in their infinite wisdom, the town planners decided a zebra crossing wasn’t enough.

They had a brand new updated piece of technology.

They replaced it with a Pelican Crossing.

They were immensely proud of this new piece of modern technology.

The only problem was, nobody who lived in the area had a clue what it was or how it worked.

Or why it was even called a Pelican Crossing.

There were no pelicans anywhere on it.

It seemed to be a combination of traffic lights and a zebra crossing.

So did that mean you could cross on the green?

In which case what was the point of the traffic lights part?

Or did it mean you could only cross on the red?

In which case what was the point of the zebra crossing part?

As usual, the experts had managed to take something that worked perfectly well and screw it up by overcomplicating it.

The local pensioners got very confused.

One day an old man with a walking stick approached it, he thought it was a zebra-crossing so traffic would stop.

But a lorry coming down the road only saw the green light, he thought he was clear to go.

The old man stepped off the kerb in front of the lorry.

The lorry driver braked as hard as he could, but he hit the old man.

The old man went flying.

He went one way and his leg went the other.

The lorry driver jumped out of his cab.

Seeing the old man lying there in separate pieces, realising he’d killed a pensioner, the lorry driver had a heart attack and collapsed.

At that point the old man got up and dusted himself off.

He was a tough old boy, he’d lost his leg in the war.

It was his false leg that had come flying off.

He hopped over to collect it and began strapping it back on.

When the ambulance came they expected to find a dead pensioner.

But instead they had to begin giving oxygen to the unconscious lorry driver who’d had a heart attack.

The pensioner went to the cafe to sit down and have a cup of tea, but the lorry driver had to go to hospital.

All because the experts can’t leave the simple things that work well alone.

Because the experts didn’t see the Pelican as too complicated.

In fact they’ve since introduced ‘Puffin Crossings’, and ‘Toucan Crossings’.

And presumably there’s more to come.

The experts have to keep complicating things to justify their job.

Because their goal is always to satisfy other experts not ordinary people.

The truth with experts, in our business as much as any other, is they’re not interested in ordinary people.

They’re only interested in their own cleverness.

They’re only interested in impressing each other: other experts.

Ordinary people are left out of the process.

Ordinary people get what they’re given.

Whatever the experts have decided is good for them.

Although, of course, it’s really only good for the experts.


Ordinary people have no place in experts’ thinking.