Signs that you are a tax on society

This is why, as someone who makes his living in the bar and restaurant industry, I despise local politicians:

Restaurants and bars pour big money into their images–the logo on the sign outside, the look inside, the acoustics. Then along comes the government to order nightspots to clutter up their showcase entryways with signs announcing that the establishment doesn’t serve anyone under 21, that pregnant women shouldn’t drink, that the business doesn’t discriminate and that people shouldn’t smoke.

Now, the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control board wants to add one more sign to the flurry of announcements greeting folks headed out for a good time: Board member Mital Gandhi has proposed that all eateries and bars licensed in the city be required to post a sign saying “Please do not drink and drive. Driving While Intoxicated or Under the Influence is illegal in the District of Columbia.” […]

Gandhi is frank about the limited impact such signs might have. “Do we think this is going to stop drinking and driving? No,” he says. “It is a marketing technique and we felt it was a win-win situation. No one wants people to drink and drive.”

Interestingly, Gandhi agrees with the restaurant lobby that there is such a thing as sign clutter and message fatigue. “If we had 10 signs, I’d agree with the restaurant association,” the board member says. “Even if we had five signs, I’d agree. But two or three signs are not a problem.”

This, dear reader, gets us into an area I never thought I’d ever need to discuss: Defining a sign. As we’ve seen above, the city does indeed require bars and restaurants to post at least five, um, notices. But whereas [Andrew Kline from the restaurant association] calls them all signs, Gandhi says there’s a huge difference between signs and–quoting now–“placards.”

“Placards are a totally different story,” Gandhi says. “Apples and oranges.” And the big red thing that announces that a particular business’s liquor license is coming up for renewal is a placard, not a sign.

You can’t make this up! Read the whole thing for even more bureaucratic absurdity.


3 thoughts on “Signs that you are a tax on society”

  1. I actually think the drinking and driving signs are a great idea…and I own a restaurant!

  2. People who honestly don’t realize the things that are written on those signs (or is it placards?) should be… well, I can’t come up with a decent punishment that doesn’t sound over the top, but seriously, something should be done.

  3. you need a picture of Bill Engvall over all these signs, saying, ‘Here’s your sign!’

    dumb and obvious, I know…

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