Magazine article Journal of Property Management

What We've Got Here Is a Failure to Communicate

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

What We've Got Here Is a Failure to Communicate

Article excerpt

I STOOD AT THE COUNTER OF A POPULAR STORE INSIDE ONE OF THE BUSIEST MALLS IN THE NATION. The clerk was polite, friendly and attentive as she rang up my purchase-when our small talk was rudely interrupted with a blaring noise.

The sound was obvious and very familiar. I noticed the clerk never broke stride; her attention never diverted from the register as she continued to ring up my purchase. I looked around the store, it seemed as though I was the only person concerned that the fire alarm had been triggered, ringing uninterrupted.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I had to ask: "Is that the fire alarm?" She looked up briefly. "I think so."

Me: "Should we do something?"

Her: "No, it's probably just a false alarm."

Me: "How would we know the difference? What if there was an active shooter in the mall? Would the alert be the same?"

Her: "Gosh, I don't know. Those are great questions."

After finishing the purchase, I walked out of the mall confirming my long time concern. We invest in and organize sophisticated security programs. People, technology, plans and protocols are all very important and effective. But, if we fail to communicate, we just plain fail.

There are many factors as to why this occurs: the "cry wolf" syndrome, sensory overload and numbness to threats as we selectively assume the best instead of the worst. …

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