“Just add sand to your sandwich board!” That’s what the sign said.
I know, I know. It’s a boring start to my story but so was my job. You see, I was one or three apprentice sign writers at ‘Perfect Signs', and I was always given the boring jobs.
When I was first assigned to the task of promoting the sale of blank sandwich boards, nothing I came up with pleased my manager. I even painted slogans on a few boards to give the customers ideas on how to make the most of their sandwich board. I mean, why would anyone buy a blank sandwich board in the first place? Oh, there were a few Cafe owners and Pizza franchise proprietors who dropped in from time to time for a blank sandwich board to add their own ‘daily specials’ menu.
“It’s still not going to sell my signs, Janine,” the had manager protested after every attempt I made to promote the overstocked merchandise.
To add to my frustration, gusts of wind continuously caused the weightless sandwich boards to fall over. I finally decided that this sandwich board sale needed something extra—sand!
I ponder an idea to promote these sandwich boards and keep them stable in windy weather at the same time. I needed a slogan and sandbags. This is the sign I finally decided on:
PAINT YOUR OWN SIGN
Just add sand to your sandwich board
Sandwich Board Sale
I suggested to the manager that we could advertise the sandwich boards in an attention-grabbing way. Together we design an extra sign to advertise the sale prices.
Wich Size Sign Do U Need?
small sandbag - $55
medium sandbag - $88
large sandbag - $100
The manager stood back and shook his head slowly. “I’m skeptical this will work but I can’t think of anything else and the sale begins tomorrow. He wiped his hand across the back of his neck. “Okay, leave it as it is and we'll see how the customers react in the morning.”
So, that’s how we sized and priced the sandwich boards for sale at ‘Perfect Signs’. Believe it or not, the sandwich boards sold out before the sale was officially over.
Now, interesting enough, the assembling instructions for these sandwich boards were written in Chinese but we always understood the boards to be made in India. The paint kit was exported from Japan and the sand in the sandbags had been collected from an assortment of European countries. However, the paint brushes were Italian.
Anyway, putting together the sandwich boards mustn’t have been a problem because we only had one unassembled sign returned. The buyer claimed that they had no idea how to put the board together or how to paint their sign.
The manager suggested that I assemble the sandwich board and paint the sign for the customer as a goodwill gesture—so much for the DO-IT-YOURSELF part.
After I assembled the sandwich board I stopped for a coffee break and to read the words that were to be painted onto the sign. What I read left me speechless. I looked up to see the manager walking toward me from the workshop; a can of paint in one hand and a paint brush in the other.
“I think I should paint this sign,” he grinned. “My cousin had no idea how to put the sandwich board together for me. He doesn’t have any artistic skills either. I should have known.”
I didn’t know what to say. I just stood there and watch my boss paint the sign. The other apprentices and qualified sign writers gradually join the small curious crowd that had gathered in the car park.
When he had completed his task the sign read:
Wishes to Announce the
Apprentice Sign Writer of the Year
*Name changed for the Weekly Challenge.
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