Sometimes people need to give thoughts to the placement of their signage. Take the convenience store I passed recently that had two of those temporary yard signs placed side-by-side on their wide green lawn. Being a well-trained human, I first glanced at the sign on the left, which said “Take ‘n’ Bake Pizza $5.99,” but any appetite that created vanished when I looked right and read “We have live bait.”

Can snack foods feel insulted? That was my first thought during a visit to a Target store, when I saw an aisle sign pointing the way to “Jerky Snacks.”

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If you use an electronic sign, always check the number of characters it can display at any one time. One local business called “Glass Pros” uses its sign to make promotional messages, some of which end with the company’s name. Unfortunately, it appears that the screen can only display eight letters and/or spaces at a time, so when a message stops scrolling, only the last eight letters and/or spaces remain visible. Take a look at their name, do a little counting, and you’ll see how their sign presents them.

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While waiting for a flight yesterday, I heard the same PA announcement several times: “Effective June 30, 2008, smoking is prohibited in the airport.”

The “smoking is prohibited” part I fully understand. But what’s the bit with the “effective June 30”? That’s more than a year ago. Does the date the ban went into effect really matter? Do we want people to think, “Gosh, I shouldn’t smoke in the terminal,” or is it really important that they mentally add, “and I haven’t been able to do so since June 30, 2008”?

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Un-welcome signs

I’m not sure that a Welcome mat in front of a business ever made anyone feel truly welcome, or a notation on a receipt saying that it has been someone’s pleasure to serve you has the power to overcome lackluster or indifferent service.

But I’ve seen plenty of signs in businesses that told me my business really wasn’t welcomed or appreciated.

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