Monday, November 24, 2008

Time of the Signs

Everywhere I go these days, it seems as though I’m overwhelmed by signage. It’s everywhere. Some people might claim that this is a testimony to the high literacy rate in this country, but it seems to me that it’s often a testimony to the high ignorance factor, or a new form of tyranny by proxy.

One of my least favorite signs are the legitimate-looking Stop signs that are peppered throughout parking lots. Those signs are on private property; they weren’t erected by the city. You can’t get a ticket for blasting through one of them. But there they are, erected with good intentions, but nonetheless bearing as much official weight as those tin Detective badges you can order from the back of a comic book.

Some signs are just fun to read. Here’s one from the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando:


Seriously? Tape measures? Why are tape measures forbidden?

Here’s a sign from a local burger joint:


I suppose they didn’t intend to imply that their food is equivalent to dog food.

In another burger joint, this stern sign was posted on the soft drink dispenser:


Do people really save their cups and come in day after day expecting continuous refills of Diet Sprite? Apparently it’s a real problem at this place.

Sometimes, clever smartass kids modify otherwise routine signs. In Florida, the 7-Eleven convenience stores sell hot dogs, which you can enhance using the chili and cheese machines. The cheese dispenser oozes toothpaste-like streams of yellow goo, and the chili dispenser sputters out a disgusting lumpy brown glop. Both of these products distract you from the probability that the hot dog itself is made from undesirable body parts. In the bathroom, I found this sign:


You can just make out the graffiti at the bottom that reads, “They clog the chili dispenser.”

This sign posted at the payment window of the service department at a local car dealership contains a subtle political message:


In other words, “It’s not our fault; it’s the bozos YOU elected.”

At the movie theatre, I now see this sign on the way in:


Cell phones have become the new boom boxes.

Obsession with cleanliness is now turning bathrooms into signage hell. At one company I worked for, a sign was posted on the back of every stall door informing us that it was polite and considerate to flush the toilet. In public bathrooms where food is served, you often see the “Employees must wash hands” sign. But in this bathroom, they had three of them:


Apparently, you can overcome illiteracy through sheer volume.

If you’re a true germophobe, this new technological development will please you: the no-touch bathroom door:


Simply wave your hand in front of the sensor and the door opens all by itself. Then you can return to your table and eat your meal that was prepared by a cook who didn’t wash his hands.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, I told you about this one!!! What? I get no credit. :-) From your informant.... TDB