Friday, November 7, 2014

Sign Here

           Once again I’ve been driving around greater Sacramento, noticing signs that make you look twice.  And maybe that’s the idea—if you really want to get someone’s attention, post something so outrageous that they not only look, but look again and take a picture of it.
            Here’s one on the door of a large business with several offices:
            I can only assume the writer of this sign is a Francophile and wishes they were in Paris or Provence at the moment.  And don’t we all?  Maybe if we go inside that room they’ll have little Eiffel Tower lamps, poodles, and a table laden with escargot and maracons.
            The next one was no accident.  Apparently I’ve been out of the loop on burglary matters (those careless burglars, not utilizing social media or newsletters to educate the rest of us!) and I didn’t know this was a thing.  But it is.  Turns out the police put a dummy car (I’ve had a few of those in my lifetime, by the way) in a parking structure, and then when someone steals it, whammo—they catch ‘em.
            It puzzles me.  Of the hundreds of cars that park in that downtown garage, what are the odds that a thief will choose the one and only car placed there by the police?  Even if the officers have picked a popular model among car thieves, aren’t the odds of it being stolen incredibly slim?  Or am I just in a bad neighborhood where five or six cars disappear from this building every day?  And wouldn’t video cameras be a cheaper, more efficient way to catch car thieves?  I mean, what if they pick a car other than the decoy duck?  These things get reported, I do believe.  And then the cops can scroll through the day’s footage and see exactly what happened.  Of course, they cannot always trace the car to the chop shop where organized criminals (but not organized enough to have a newsletter, mind you) have stashed it.
            Some might claim that the sign, alone, will discourage theft.  But, assuming you’re a thief, what if you don’t speak English, don’t read, or don’t happen to go through that entrance where the sign is posted?  What if you’re too short to see the sign?  What if you sneeze and blink as you’re hurrying in, and you miss it?  What if you have an accomplice, and they block your view of the sign?  What if you’re wearing burglar attire (hoodie and sunglasses) and can’t see it?  Maybe they should post one of those scrolling light boards at the exit, where everyone has to read it upon leaving.
            Speaking of driving, this last sign is my favorite.  It’s one of three that look pretty much the same, and are posted under the counters at my local Department of Motor Vehicles.  Next time you’re waiting at the DMV, you can conduct a party game, asking everyone to guess what these signs originally said.
            Spoiler alert: I’m going to tell you.  They say, “Please Do Not Leave Children Unattended.”  Don’t you just want to write, underneath, “because this is what will happen”?   Obviously kids have picked off the lettering, placed perfectly at their height, while their parents have stood at the counters, oblivious, talking with DMV clerks.  Seriously, these signs look like unsolved Wheel of Fortune puzzles.  I asked one clerk if I could buy a vowel and told him I’d like to solve the puzzle, but he wasn’t amused.
            Think about it.  What would it cost to fix those signs and then just put a square of plexiglass over them?  Or paint the signs, instead of using removable letters?  Wait—I have it!  Maybe those letters are rigged by the police, and once stolen, can be traced to the pre-school where the culprit is hiding.  Although I didn’t see a warning sign about that.

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