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I was in a small town outside of Knoxville last week when someone suggested a good restaurant for lunch. As we approached the door I saw this sign.

Even the first reading left me cold. I felt like they didn’t want my business nor me. I thought it was just me so I asked my companions what they thought. My companions were business owners; I thought I would wait for their comments. I thought I might just be a little touchy.

Actually I didn’t say anything for a minute but before I could, my friend Chris made a comment.

“What’s that all about he asked, don’t they want us here?”

“It sure doesn’t seem like it”, said his wife Sheryl.

Why would they put such a sign on the door? Were they trying to teach us a lesson? What was the lesson? Stop eating here or you’ve been really bad so we won’t be here to greet you.

Both Sheryl and Chris are business owners; in fact owners of several business. I was consulting with them about their business and helping them find ways to increase their customer base.

The more we talked about it, the more annoyed we became.

The sign made us think of other things: is the food fresh, are the employees annoyed, will they spit in our food?

Why not just say we are so busy that we’re giving our employees an additional day off. Thank you so much for being loyal customers.

The sign would have made us smile and feel good about being customers. Not signs that make us wonder what the sign ‘really means.’

I never forget the sign on the garden centers, “closed until Spring.” Like we might not know they’re closed for the winter. I would really like to see a welcoming sign inviting me in for an ice tea when they open. It would really be nice if they had the opening date on the window.

Winter in the northeast is really a drag; even if you ski and love winter sports. The first snow is pretty, then it gets dirty and annoying.

What about a sign that says, 250 days until Spring, petunias coming, new types of roses. Notes that tell us we’re unforgettable and they can’t wait to see us.

I have an idea about stupid signs.

Make your customers feel positive, Negative signs really are a turn off and really should be used as a last resort. Maybe when you’re turning off the lights for the last time and really don’t care.

The last thing a customer should see is a smiley face not a sign taped to your cash register saying you’re going to charge them $35.00 for a bounced check. Will the $35.00 make a customer think twice before they bounce a check?

I actually saw another sign that said ‘if you pee on the floor you clean it up.’ When I read that sign it made me kind of want to pee on the floor. I actually hadn’t thought about it until I saw the sign.

Tell me what you  think about the sign.

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers through customer service training and social media marketing. Her book, Red Hot Customer Service can be purchased from her web site,

She can be reached at Redhotcustomerservice


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