Place: northwest corner of Bristol Street and MacArthur Boulevard, Santa Ana.
Scenario: A man holds a sign announcing the impending closure of the nearby Kids 'R Us store. "Everything Must Go!" and "Up to 60 percent savings," the sign declares. No more than 10 feet away is a middle-aged couple. The man, who is confined to a wheelchair, holds a Chihuahua wrapped in a blanket. The woman stands, holding a square sign that reads, "Help! Terminally ill homeless . . ."—followed by about 250 progressively smaller words that are impossible to read, at least at the speed I'm passing them. This demonstrates an important rule in advertising: fewer words, larger print better convey your message. Just look over at the Kids 'R Us sign: clear, simple, everything I need to know is right there. It reminds me of those advertisers who buy an eighth-page ad in the Weekly and then want to run something like Aquinas' Summa Theologicain it, so the type has to be microscopic, and no one notices it, and then the advertiser wonders why he's not getting better reader response. Duh! "I'm Dying. I'm Homeless. HELP!" would work just fine. Okay, back to the homeless solution:
Solution: Places like Kids 'R Us should hire homeless people to hold their going-out-of-business signs, assuming, of course, the minimum wage they pay for such tasks is equal to or more than the amount we guilty drivers dish out to the homeless.
Next week: Solutions for the Bush Economy Jobless Problem, Especially for Kids 'R Us Employees Like the Sign Guy Who Last Week Lost His Job to a Terminally Ill Homeless Man Holding a Chihuahua.