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.