Our bricks and mortar bookstore is inside a gas station, which we lease. Until a few days ago, the gas station had a very tall sign upon which the prices were displayed. It was an old sign. It didn't look good. And it was horribly difficult to keep up to date. To change the prices, someone had to use an insanely long rod with a suction cup at one end, and, one by one by one etc., remove and replace numbers. It took rather a lot of strength and coordination to get the job done. I couldn't do it. My husband couldn't do it. Most of our employees couldn't do it, either. The ones that could do it sometimes hated to do it, and I can't blame them. In good weather it was hard. In bad weather, particularly very cold weather, it was the sort of job that could reduce a grown man to tears and/or animosity toward the universe. In all weather conditions, it was hard to not lose grip on the numbers at the wrong time - i.e. before they got delicately maneuvered into place. The numbers were prone to breaking even without falling horrendous distances to the ground. It was not a happiness-promoting system.
So, the other day, the parent company had the sign taken down. I don't have proof to show you that some of us danced jigs of joy to have it gone, but I assure you, we were happy. Very happy. We don't know what they're going to do eventually about replacing it, but we have petitioned, wholeheartedly, for them to save their money and let us just use the reader boards or put up a short sign, or something like that. Anything, you understand, that doesn't require us to go back to the insanely long rods with suction cups, which only a few people can master, and nobody likes.
So, today my husband told me that of the responses he's gotten so far to the sign being gone, about half are people saying how much better it looks around there now, and the other half are asking if we're going out of business.
No, folks. We got rid of an eyesore that cost us grief and money to keep up. That's it.
If you hear any rumor to the contrary, will you please squash it? Thank you.
In the meantime, I think I'll go and polish the windows and otherwise do whatever I can think of to make it clear that we're a going concern. We are even considering getting fresh, colorful banners. We've never had banners, but the sort that you see at car lots are pretty cheap. And they'd look new. Which might take people's minds off the old sign. Maybe.
If you can successfully anticipate the wild leaps of logic to which people are prone, you are way ahead of me. It never occurred to me, not once, that people might think we were going out of business because we're taking steps to improve and update the appearance of the place.
Bonus Quotation of the Day… - (Don Boudreaux) Tweet… is from pages 242-243 of the 2003 Cato Institute edition of Johan Norberg’s indispensable 2001 volume, In Defense of Global Capitali...
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