Not a Good Sign…


Literally. This is blog about signs. Like, the ones you see while driving. Yeah. I know. I don’t care who I piss off at this point.

Please keep young children away from this blog without proper protection, because it is dangerously edgy.

Billboards and signs are pretty much exclusively meant as a means to communicate an idea or make me want to buy something. Sure. A few might have solar panels on the back to generate some electricity or something. In general, though, people and companies want me to look at them, realize I don’t have the thing they’re advertising, regret it and then pull a sick J-turn to go buy said “thing” immediately.

Only…I don’t. Billboards are notoriously bad at making me want the things they show me. As they are literally a form of advertisement and their only purpose is to make me want things, that’s kind of a problem for them.

Here are some of the worst signs I see on my typical commute:

Those billboards with a giant lawyer’s face and a single, seemingly random word. “Injured?” is most common, though I sometimes see “Discrimination?” of “Denied?” And there, at the very bottom, is a teeny, tiny phone number that I assume I’m supposed to call, but I’m not sure why.

Minimalism has its place, especially when you’re expecting passing motorists to get the gist of your advertisement and learn how to contact you in the time it takes them to pass it – all without crashing. But I’ve got to admit, I only recognize the lawyer from old ads on television. Without knowing whose giant, angry face that is, the message isn’t nearly as self-explanatory as they think. In fact, it sort of comes off as a threat.

In fact, just any advertisement with this guy in general. I didn’t break the law! I swear! If I call the number, will he just stop staring at me?


Ads for “Bail Money Fast!” The problem with these signs are twofold. The first is that they seem relentlessly sketchy. Basically, you’re taking all the sketchiness of high interest payday loans and only giving them to felons. Or alleged felons, I suppose.

More important, though, is that people who need bail are locked up. They’d actually need bail money to get out and find this phone number. The only way I could see this working is that potential criminals are driving around before committing crimes and saying, “Hey. Write down that number, in case we get arrested.” To which I say, c’mon, criminals! Let’s see some optimism!

Houses with “Private Property – No Trespassing!” Of course it’s private property. That’s how houses work. Despite your avant-garde use of old newspapers sculpted to look exactly like garbage piles on your porch, I didn’t mistake your house for a modern art gallery.

Including “No Trespassing” is redundant on any property. That’s what makes it property. Someone, by definition, owns it. Criminals aren’t going to drive by and say, “Hey. We should trespass on that property. There’s no sign or anything.”

And the other guy is like, “Sure. But write down that number for fast bail money first just in case, okay?”

Also, why are these signs always posted on the most rundown houses in any neighborhood? I don’t think anyone’s going to touch your 50% red, 50% rust Chevy Nova. Hell, every time I walk past those places I veer onto the curb just to put a little extra distance between me and the front porch where I always see cats walk up but never come back from. Trespassing? No thanks. I’ve already had tetanus.

Signs with fewer and fewer letters. I get it. It’s hard to keep up with a new clever message every week, or month or…since April of 2009. Plagiarizing something random from the Internet would take entire moments, after all. And you’d need, sigh, I don’t know. A ladder? This whole thing is starting to sound like a huge hassle.

But if you don’t plan on updating your sign, maybe just take all the letters down. It says something about a business whose sign just says “O” and two lines later, “HEW.” I mean, I think it says something about a business. I just have no idea what.

Even if there’s only a one-in-four chance of the “H” falling off next and your sign saying, “Ew,” there’s still a four-in-four chance that the next letter that falls will make your store look just a bit more pathetic.

Anyway, just some food for thought. I, for example, am suddenly wondering if I might be driving through the bad part of town every day. See? We all learned something.


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