It’s A Sign.

Source: Google Maps, because I wasn’t fast enough with my own camera.

My wife and I were driving through my old neighborhood recently and as we went by a strip mall she said, “Oh, the upside down sign is still there.”

I’m not sure when exactly the upside down sign was first installed. I remember seeing it a lot, though, because I lived nearby and we passed it regularly.  I’m pretty sure I was in my early teens. Maybe I was even younger. It was there when there was a miniature golf course behind that strip mall—a miniature golf course where my friends and I spent a lot of summer Saturdays before it finally shut down. It was there when there was an arcade in that strip mall where my friends and I played a lot of video games, and when there was still a Radio Shack there. It was there when there was a small market that, for reasons no one ever understood, carried a lot of different imported beers from around the world—and this was in the ‘80’s, long before the craft beer craze. Also long before I started drinking beer. I only know about the market that carried a lot of imported beers because I’d go in there sometimes to buy a candy bar and I’d see this unusual stuff called “Guinness” in the refrigerator case, and I’d always think, well, if it’s beer it must not be that different from the Michelob my father drinks, and it would be several years before I’d discover Guinness resembles Michelob about as much as, well, a miniature golf course resembles a Radio Shack, but that’s another story.

The first few years it was there, every time my friends and I passed it, I’d say, “What’s wrong with them? Why don’t they fix that sign?” And my friend John would say, “Well, maybe it’s working for them. It’s getting attention.”

He was right too. The sign must be working. It’s still there, and the business it advertises is still there. In fact it’s the only thing that hasn’t changed. Well, there’s probably at least one place nearby where you can still get Guinness.  

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  1. M.L. James

    It seems like I’ve seen other laundromat signs upside down. For some reason, I’ve always thought it indicated laundry itself being g tumbled around in washers and dryers. Maybe I’m wrong though. As long is the beer isn’t turned upside down, all is well! ? Mona

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Mona, now you’ve really given me something to think about. Hanging their sign upside down just to get attention made sense, but doing it to express the idea of tumbling laundry takes it to a whole new level. More than anything, though, I’m intrigued that other laundromats also turn their signs upside down. Oh, hey, apparently it’s a whole thing.

  2. mydangblog

    Maybe it’s a test–if you can read it upside down, they let you in. The only laundromat anywhere near here has huge plastic palm trees outside, for some weird reason. I would never have associated the two together normally but now whenever I see a palm tree, I think of laundry!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That kind of test seems like a recipe for accidents, but maybe their intent is to get peoples’ attention from the road and then test them once they’ve pulled over. And it’s funny that you mention a place with huge plastic palm trees. There was a Jamaican chicken restaurant near us a few years ago that had some big plastic palm trees out front. It kind of made sense. Jamaica is an island, after all, and has palm trees. The restaurant failed pretty quickly, though, and was replaced by a mattress store which, for a while, still had the palm trees.
      They should have kept them.


    It’s a sign that your blog posts are so interesting and engaging that whatever you do here, Chris, it’s working for you and for us.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope to stay interesting and engaging and with your background in advertising I wondered what you’d make of an upside-down sign. I guess it works, though, and I hope to keep working too.


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