Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Published 8:12 am Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Even at age 60, my mind is like a steel trap.

Monday, a week ago, as I entered the vault of the Northampton County Register of Deeds office to snap a photo of a sign, I recalled a column I penned a while ago.

That column covered the topic of signs….rules and regulations posted in almost every building you visit. While the sign that I snapped a photo of that day simply read…No food or drinks allowed, there are other postings that just crack me up.

I wrote the following column in May of 2010 about funny signs. I felt the urge to share it again, so I hope my readers enjoy it for a second time.

Sign, Sign, everywhere a sign; blocking out the scenery breaking my mind; do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?

Does anybody remember that 1971 song – “Signs” from The Five Man Electrical Band, a rock group from Canada’s capital city of Ottawa?

That’s the same year the good folks over at Northampton County High School gave me a diploma and told me to leave.

But getting back to the point of this column, there is signage out there in the world that the originator should have used a bit more thought. The interpretations are hilarious. Here’s a few examples:

Toilet out of order. Please use floor below. (I certainly hope this sign was posted in a multi-story building.)

Seen in a laundromat: Automatic washing machines; please remove all your clothes when the light goes out.

In a Memphis department store: Bargain basement upstairs.

Posted outside a department store: 0% percent off selected items today.

Information sign on an interstate highway: Lodging Next Right; State Prison.

Seen inside an office: Would the person who took the step ladder yesterday please bring it back or further steps will be taken.

Another office sign: After coffee break, staff should empty the coffee pot and stand upside down on the draining board. (Maybe after the blood flows to their head, their work will improve.)

Seen outside a second-hand shop: We exchange anything – bicycles, washing machines, etc. Why not bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain!

A sign in the produce section of a grocery store promoted a questionable deal on red peppers: Now – $2.09; were $1.89.

A notice posted in the window of health food shop: Closed due to illness.

Spotted in a safari park: Elephants please stay in your car.

Seen during a conference: For anyone who has children and doesn’t know it, there is a day care on the 1st floor.

Notice posted in a farmer’s field: The farmer allows walkers to cross the field for free, but the bull charges.

Message on a leaflet: If you cannot read, this leaflet will tell you how to get lessons.

Seen on the entrance of a repair shop door: We can repair anything (please knock hard on the door – the bell doesn’t work.)

Outside a Rhode Island business: Marty’s Liquors…Fine Wines…Kegs…Lottery…Ice…Drive-Thru Redemption.

This one is actually not a sign, but rather the name of a California business – Ill Foods. (Gee, I wonder if they’re still in business?)

Seen outside a bargain shop in Idaho: Come inside where everything is a dollar, or more!

A sign in Dade City, Florida proclaims: Restroom Facility Open…No Dumping.

An Ohio fuel station solicits customers with this sign: New Owner Have Gas Come In.

A sign seen outside a mom-and-pop motel in California reads: Stop Here! We beat everybody.

Cal Bryant is Editor of the Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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