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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The signs of Annandale



By Robert Schwaninger

Driving through Annandale can take a long time if you read all of the signs that are poking up, flapping in the breeze, being twirled by underpaid Latinos, or emblazoned in Korean characters. Right now no one is running for office so at least there aren’t the ubiquitous signs touting the name of every Penny Gross wannabe.

All kinds of signs are everywhere and every business is pushing its message to the street.  Lately the new Goodwill store has gotten in on the act, and I’m wondering if they are giving discount Reflexology Massages on site.

The other day I was creeped out by a mechanical lady twirling a sign that said, “We buy gold.” That’s right, a mechanical mannequin in a pink blouse and blond wig was on the road near Willow Run scaring the hell out of car passengers and drivers alike.

I have no idea what “Ha Ha Pink” sells, though I suspect its nitrous oxide. On the other hand, I know what the joint buys—signs. Lots of them that look like they were lettered by cross-eyed lemurs liberally applying Pepto Bismol to cardboard.

Andrea stands Little River Turnpike every day promoting the Gold Spot.
 Then there are the two poor schlemiels twirling the “we buy gold” signs on Route 236 near Ravensworth Road. I’ve seen these two out in weather that a St. Bernard would reject. And still they are there, twirling all through the day and wrapped in enough layers of winter wear that you can’t tell their weight or gender. Although I’ve seen these people several times, I couldn’t pick them out of a line up to save my soul.

And how many times can a furniture store or a rug outfit go out of business? Seems like these joints go out of business about three times a week. I’ve figured out why. They spend too damn much money on signs! 

But to be fair, our community groups and local government are in on the act. Among the signs that have lingered in the median strip were those touting the Jan. 15 Town Hall Meeting, which remained perched until February; and various sign-ups (pun intended) for Little League, swim club, community gatherings, and Gay Midget Communists for a Greater Green Springs.

Some of the signs are little more than colored paper stapled to various telephone poles. “We Buy Cars” and “We Buy Houses.” Seriously? So do a whole lot of other people through more traditional means, but for some reason these hand-drawn, clumsy signs are supposed to lure me away from licensed dealers to sell my car or house to a guy who does his advertising with a magic marker and construction paper. Yeah, not likely.

For years the county has looked for ways to revitalize Annandale and I’m all for it. I even know how we could pay for development, road improvements, and greater county services. Start fining the sign people about $25 per sign for violation of the ordinances and vigorously collect it. Start with Goodwill to show that we mean business because if you’re willing to bust a charity then everyone is fair game.

Take the money and put it in a special Annandale Revitalization Fund and watch the dough roll in. Invite community involvement in ratting out the sign guys. Set up a tip line and maybe advertise the entire campaign. Hey, I know; we could put up signs.

9 comments:

  1. I agree about the signs except the part about Community Groups. I think Community Groups should be able to have a special exception to put up signs for one week at a time. How else will the schools let you know about school plays, church Bazaars, Consignment Sales, school Fun Fairs, local sports club sign ups or District Town Halls. Don't forget about Yard Sales, Estate Sales and Open Houses. Additionally, all business signs should be in English and under the name of the business can be in any other language. I am tired of not knowing business names it is so unwelcoming. Additionally, some business entire front window is nothing but signs you can not even see inside the store. These signs around the District just add in the end to the dirty look we are presenting.

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    1. There are other means of advertising charity events, etc. The signs have got to go......period or things will never change. And right now things must change because Annandale is getting to look like and be known as Trashdale USA!

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  2. Good post. Two thumbs up.

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  3. No signs means no signs. If the purpose is to get rid of all the clutter along the roads, then there should be no exceptions. Why is your school event more important than someone else's business?

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    1. The School events usually leave their signs up for a week at most two where businesses never take them down until someone does it for them. Why I think it is more important is because it is for charity not for profit. I think profit is wonderful but business have more resources where schools have volunteers doing the best they can do the best way they know how.

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  4. What do people have against signs in Korean? (As opposed to signs in general.) If it's not for me, it's not for me. I don't have to know absolutely everything that happens. Why should businesses that are catering exclusively to Koreans (ex: a service for wiring money to Korea) also have to have their signs in English just to satisfy my curiosity about what it might mean?

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    1. No business should be catering to just one nationality or race. They should be catering to ALL customers. Where does it stop? White only, black only, Hispanic Only, Irish Only, Russian Only, people who are purple with green spots. Excluding others is not inclusive. I want to live where I feel comfortable shopping anywhere at any time.

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  5. I love the first picture - a sign advertising for more signs!

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  6. Good article! Funny.

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