Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sign of the times

Mr Reloved asks where all the Come In We're Open/Sorry We're Closed signs came from


Now that the whole ‘Keep Calm and…’ backlash is well and truly established, I’d like to nominate a new irritant that is taking our shops by storm.

Now, before I reveal what it is, I’d like to say that my loathing of this item is completely irrational, and I’ve no idea why it winds me up so much, but then I’m a very irrational man who is very easily wound up (I’ve twice threatened to commit genocide while watching Grand Designs, for example).

So what is the new scourge of the High Street? It’s the shabby chic, retro, US gas station style ‘Come In We’re Open’/’Sorry We’re Closed’ sign that seems to hang in every other shop door.

There’s nothing ugly about it, in fact it’s a pretty nice piece of design. If I had a shop and I’d never seen it before, I’d probably order it. But that’s the problem. Everyone’s seen it, liked it, and ordered it.

Where did they all come from? Is there a man with a vanload going around our town centres, selling them to independent shopkeepers? Is there a wholesale site where you can buy them?

I’ve seen a few knock-off versions, but why isn’t someone making their own, alternative version in red or yellow, or green, with a different font?

And, more to the point, why are so many people happy to have the same sign in their shop window (door)?

Fair enough, if you’re a salon or a gift shop or something, but if you’re a creative type – say selling painted furniture or your own designs, or if you’re an antiques or vintage dealer, why would you choose it?

Your shop window is literally your shop window – your chance to show off your creative skills, or the quality of your stock. If you’re selling antiques or genuine vintage items, why use a modern repro mock-vintage sign?

If you design and paint for a living, why not make your own sign to show off your skills?

Don't believe these signs are becoming an epidemic? Here are a few I've snapped in the last few weeks...

Hairdressers in Stamford

On the telly!

I can see you hiding!

5 star hygiene rating - go you

I WANT YOU to get a new sign

Come In? Oh come on...

Taken from the car - I never rest

Who's that handsome man in the reflection?

Somehow manages to be only the second worst sign in this door

Running out of captions now

Ooh, a knock-off version!

Fin.