Blaine, Where N/A Does Not Mean "Not Applicable"

By
Home Inspector with King of the House Home Inspection, Inc
I found out yesterday that N/A does not necessarily mean not applicable. I went up to Canada, which is only about 20 miles from Bellingham. Now that the Canadian dollar is worth more, many Canadians come to the US to shop. Then, with school being out, that is quadrupled.

Supposedly, to help travelers at each side of the border -- prior to the exits for alternate routes -- a freeway sign that updates is installed and it predicts border waits at the different crossings. Yesterday, it  said that the truck crossing was a 25 minute wait. It said that the Peace Arch, the main crossing, was N/A.  Not applicable? That says to me that the border wait would be not applicable, as in minimal wait.

I found out that I was wrong in how I interpreted that. I am just not smart enough to figure out government speak. When I arrived at the Peach Arch, photo below, the N/A wait was one hour and twenty minutes. I was more than half way to the crossing when I snapped this photo.

 

So what is the correct way to interpret N/A? I spoke with a lawyer friend today, guess you have to have a legal mind to get it. I told him how wrong the sign was, complained that they don't update it. He said, "oh yes they do -- you just don't get it". He went on to explain that N/A means that the wait is so long that they cannot estimate it. Hence, not applicable,  as in we will not predict it, we have no clue, slow down and wait.

At least I did get an education today -- some insight into government logic. It was my lesson for the day: The totally obvious is not always totally obvious and N/A does not mean not applicable.

 

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspections

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Show All Comments
Rainer
122,061
Jim Albano
Prudential Damiano Realty - Little Falls, NJ
Team - Jean-Marie Vantuno / Realtors North Jersey Real Estate

Holy Cow! How long did that line take to get through? Or is the answer to that question N/A? LOL

July 24, 2008 07:59 PM #1
Rainer
42,690
Richard Mielke
RE/MAX Results - Gettysburg, PA
REALTOR, Gettysburg Pennsylvania Real Estate

Perhaps N/A means Not Available?

July 24, 2008 08:25 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,178,511
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Richard,

You might be on to something there. They sure got us locals fooled though. We all thought it was good being N/A. Ends up not.

 

Jim,

Took about an hour and twenty minutes

July 24, 2008 10:35 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,178,511
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Richard,

You win the prize. I called a friend who works there. He says it is "not available." Wish they had told us locals. Everyone I know had thought the N/A was the line, then we complain about it when we get tied up. Too bad it does not just say "long delay".

July 25, 2008 03:17 PM #4
Ambassador
2,346,410
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

How long is the wait???   N/A.  Or, not accountable. 

Now that is a government explanation.

July 25, 2008 04:20 PM #5
Rainmaker
1,178,511
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Lenn,

Wait was nearly 1.5 hours. Government speak is not for me I think. At least, now that I know what it means, I will be better able to negotiate the silliness.

July 25, 2008 04:38 PM #6
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Rainmaker
1,178,511

Steven L. Smith

Bellingham WA Home Inspector
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