Saturday, September 3, 2011

Trash by any other name

Last June, I got fed up with rampant soliciting in Centerpointe, and posted this warning near our front door:
Since posting it, only one bandit flyer has been left there, and I opted not to "out" those folks because I don't think they spoke any English.  Therefore they weren't defying my request, exactly, because they didn't know that the request was being made.

Correspondingly, I was delighted to see this article in today's Houston Chronicle which describes bandit signs as "trash on a stick" and which describes the activities of volunteers who are working hard to gain an upper hand on its distribution. 

"Bandit signs" are those advertisements, usually professionally printed, that seem to appear spontaneously in every conceivable location: public rights of way, the lawns of government and commercial buildings, parking lots, empty fields, you name it.  They are illegal and they are ugly, turning our environment in its entirety into one contiguous screaming billboard.  That article I linked above reported that the City of Houston disposed of eleven thousand bandit signs just last month - and they're only scratching the surface.  Three full-time civil employees are dedicated to that job - peoples' tax dollars at work. 

And, I note with supreme annoyance, this trend is not limited to a growing assault on front doors and unguarded outdoor areas.  When I walk into the women's room at my health club, WHAT do I often see littering up the vanity counter in front of the mirror and hair dryers?  MORE bandit flyers and business cards, placed without permission by third parties unaffiliated with the health club, advertising all manner of female-oriented consumer crap.  Picture this: I've just come out of an hour's worth of challenging yoga, and I'm in a settled mental state.  I drift into the women's locker room to wash hands and wipe face, and the first thing that greets me is a clamoring imperative to buy scented candles that actually smell worse than my dog's rear end.  The mood suffers, eh?  And what do these peddlers imagine - that the entire known universe qualifies as their personal graffiti stage??

Trash on a stick, trash on a door, trash on a counter.  With these trashy things in mind, it is declared that henceforth ALL bandit advertisers that impact our local area will be subject to being outed-by-blogging.  We'll see you trash-distributor guys in cyberspace. 

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