Signs of the Times
On October 13, 1944, the Durham N. C. Sun Reported that a Durhamite had
been brought before a Judge Wison in traffic court for having parked his car on
a restricted street right in front of a sign that read "No Stoping."
Rather than pleading guilty, the defendant argued that the missing letter
in the sign meant that he had not violated the letter of the law. Brandishing a
Webster's ldictionary, he noted that stoping means:
"extracting ore from a stope or, loosely, underground."
"Your Honor", said the man, "I am a law-abiding citizen and I didn't
extract any ore from the area of the sign. I move that the case be dismissed."
Acknowledging that the defendant hadn't done any illegal mining, the judge
declared the man not guilty and commented, "since this is Friday, the 13th,
anything can happen, so I'll turn you loose."
"No Stoping" is a blunderful example of the suspect signs and botched
billboards that dot the American landscape. Here are some other signs that need
to be re-signed:
* At restaurant-gas stations throughout the nation:
"Eat here and get gas."
* At a Sante Fe gas station:
"We will sell gasoline to anyone in a glass container."
* In a New Hampshire jewelry store:
"Ears pierced while you wait."
* In an New York restaurant"
"Customers who consider our waitresses uncivil ought to see the
* In a Michigan restaurant:
"The early bird gets the worm!"
"Special shoppers' luncheon before 11:00 AM."
* On a delicatessen wall:
"Our best is none too good."
* On the wall of a Baltimore estate:
"Trespassers will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
"-- Sisters of Mercy"
* On a long-established New Mexico dry cleaning store:
"Thirty-eight years on the same spot."
* In a Los Angeles dance hall:
"Good clean dancing every night but Sunday."
* On a movie theater:
"Children's matinee today. Adults not admitted unless with child."
* In a Florida maternity ward:
"No children allowed!"
* In a New York drugstore:
"We dispense with accuracy."
* On a New York loft building:
"Wanted: Woman to sew buttons on the fourth floor."
* In a New Hampshire medical building:
"Martin Diabetes Professional Ass."
* In the office of a loan company:
"Ask about our plans for owning your home."
* In a New York medical building:
"Mental health prevention center."
* In a toy department:
"Five Santa Clauses -- no waiting."
* On a New York convalescent home:
"For the sick and tired of the Episcopal Church."
* On a Maine shop:
"Our motto is to give our customers the lowest possible prices and
* At a number of military bases:
"Restraicted to unauthorized personnel."
* In a number of parking areas:
"Violators will be enforced and Trespassers will be violated."
* On a display of "I Love You Only" Valentine cards:
"Now available in multi-packs."
* In the window of a Kentucky appliance store:
"Don't kill your wife. Let our washing machines do the dirty work."
* In a funeral parlor:
"Ask about our layaway plan.
* On a window of a New Hampshire hamburger restaurant:
"Yes, we are open. Sorry for the inconvenience."
* In a clothing store:
"Wonderful bargains for men with 16 and 17 necks."
* In a Tacoma, Washington men's clothing store:
"15 men's wool suits - $10.00 - They won't last an hour!"
* On an Indiana shopping mall marquee:
"Archery tournament. Ears pierced."
* In the bathroom of a large apartment building:
"When taking showers, please leave the bathroom door a jar.
This will prevent the plaster from peeling."
* Outside a country shop:
"We buy junk and sell antiques."
* On a North Carolina highway:
* On an Ohio highway:
"Drive slower When Wet."
* On a New Hampshire highway:
"You are speeding when flashing."
* On a Pennsylvania highway:
"Drive carefully: Auto accidents kill most people from 15 to 19."
* In downtown Boston:
"Calahan Tunnel/No. End."
* In the window of an Oregon general store:
"Why go elsewhere to be cheated, when you can come here?"
* In a Massachusettes parking area reserved for birdwatchers:
"Parking for birds only."
* In a New Jersey restaurant:
"Open 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM Midnight."
* In front of a New Hampshire restaurant:
"Now serving live lobsters."
* In front of a New Hampshire store:
* On a radiator repair garage:
"Best place too take a leak."
* On a movie marquee:
Adam and Eve
with a cast of thousands!
* In the vestry of a New England church:
"Will the last person to leave please see that the perpetual
light is extinguished."
* In a Pennsylvania cemetery:
"Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own
* On a roller coaster:
"Watch your head."
* On a New Hampshire road:
"Will build to suit
Emory A. Tuttle"
* On the grounds of a private school:
"No trespassing without permission."
* In a library:
"Blotter paper will no longer be available until the public stops
taking it away.
* On a Tennessee highway:
"Take Notice: When this sign is under water the road is impasable."
* Similarily in a New Hampshire car wash:
"If you can't read this, it's time to wash your car."
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