Broken Windows [Daily Game]

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There’s a bicycle room in the building in which I live. To make sure the bikes stored there are owned by actual residents of the building, building management recently instituted a registration-sticker rule to go on each bicycle stored in the room, with a warning: Any bike or scooter that does not have a sticker may be removed from the bike room. 

About three weeks after starting the stickering campaign, management sent someone to the bike room to put notices on bikes that are now in violation of the new rule. It’s a simple 8×10 sheet of paper alerting the bike owner of the rule violation and what to do about it, attached to each violating bike with a piece of scotch tape.

The thing about bicycles and bicycle rooms is, some people only ride their bikes once in awhile — some hardly ever; for them the room is more storage spot than parking spot for their bike. Many bikes in the room are literally collecting dust. So management would have to decide how much time is enough time to let pass before they would make good on their warning and start actually removing bikes (prediction: No bikes will ever be removed. Anyone can claim ignorance of the rule and say they hadn’t been to the bike room to see the notice. And removing a bike, for a rule that was instituted afterpeople had already moved in, is just a lawsuit waiting to happen).

Some people though, people like me, frequent the bike room and have taken proper action. I got myself a sticker and threw the notice sheet in the garbage.

Others, however, haven’t been so conscientious about that sheet of paper.

There’s a notice sheet that someone dropped on the ground in the middle of bike room that’s been laying there on the floor for a week. It has footprints on it. I’ve walked past and over it 2-3 times myself. I walked over it again this morning and wondered why no one, even the security staff who work here and walk through the bike room a few times per day (to check in with the security device located on the back wall of the room), had picked it up. As I was thinking this, a security guard came in the room for his walk-through check-in. Walked right over it on his way in, and again on his way out.

For Your Game

  1. This is a example of what’s called the Broken Window Theory (Wikipedia identifies it as a criminal topic; here I’m talking the mentality of it): Let’s say there was a vacant house in your neighborhood, and one of the windows of that vacant house got broken. How much time would pass before that window got fixed, if at all? The Broken Window Theory says if that window doesn’t get fixed, it sends an unspoken message to everyone around that this is OK and acceptable. Pretty soon, there will be more broken windows, litter on the ground, uncut grass, and the whole neighborhood goes to shit. On the other hand, if the broken window is promptly fixed, there’s much less chance that it gets broken again, and much less chance for any of the other signs of blight and neglect. The prompt fixing of the window sends an unspoken message of its own: We take care of our stuff here.

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