I was in an early morning daze at a Timothy's recently trying to grab a cup of coffee when a man stormed in ahead of me and asked to speak to the manager. He was annoyed. I was annoyed. It was one of those mornings.
There was no manager on duty so the man pled his case to two staff staring back at him vacantly from behind the counter. It was about the sandwich board stretched out on the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop. The problem, he said, was that these sandwich boards take up too much space and cause unnecessary obstacles for the blind and also elderly people using buggies. It was a valid point, one I'd never previously considered.
These ubiquitous sidewalk signs can often be ugly, pointless and ineffective, especially if they're constantly blowing over. Though sometimes there'll be a chalkboard sign with a funny little phrase meant to grab our attention and make us smile, or they'll tell us about a new thing on a restaurant menu that can make our mouth water in anticipation. For stores yearning for more exposure a sidewalk sign is a good way to get passersby to stop and notice or allow them to look down the block to see what's coming up.
There is a better option though, especially on crowded sidewalks where stores are just trying to get some more brand exposure. In the distillery district most signs are mounted overhead so to be within a good sight line and also out of the way. The overhead signs add charm to the historic neighborhood and don't intrude on public space.
In the case of the man and the Timothy's sign, the man was pissed at the employees' lack of response and tore off to move the sign himself. A couple of days later the sign was back in the same spot, dominantly claiming half the sidewalk and not really having much to say.
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