In case you get bored watching the paint dry…

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R.B. writes:

I'm sorry that I can't provide info on where it came from originally (and for all I know, it's an oldie-but-goodie).  I found it posted in a discussion group on Ravelry, which is a social networking site for knitters, spinners, weavers, and others who work with fiber.


  1. Ralph Hickok said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 5:57 am

    William Safire used to have an annual contest for the funniest sign. One year the winner was "Eyes Examined While You Wait." I was runner-up that year with a sign I saw advertising a sheet metal fabricator: "We Build Heating Ducts and Smoke Pipes."

  2. Peter said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 6:00 am

    Reminds me of the road signs around school entrances exhorting you to “WATCH CHILDREN”. But if you actually stick around and take them up on the suggestion, then for some reason they seem to object…

  3. Chips said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 6:22 am

    It's the initial caps that get me on this and similar signs, and distressingly in recent times British and Australian news headlines … following the USA pattern. Why is it that signs/headlines give each word an initial cap? Is there some commentary/research on this, or am I just an old sub-editor who loathes them?

  4. Keith said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 6:25 am

    The word "replaced" or "fitted" is missing, but my brain interpolated that instantly because it's such a common sign in the UK.

    I've seen a jokey variation on this sign: "ears pierced while you wait".

  5. leoboiko said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 7:16 am

    Sounds entertaining.

    @Peter: Around here, a number of residential communities have road signs warning drivers to BE CAREFUL WITH OUR CHILDREN. I've always though that these kids must be truly feral.

  6. David L. Gold said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    I doubt that "watch" in "WATCH BATTERIES WHILE YOU WAIT" is anything other than a verb. The least one may say with certainty is that the message that the sign is meant to convey is 'We will change the batteries in your watch while you wait'. Whether the author of the sign also intended a pun or a double entendre is unclear. I do not think so.

  7. wally said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 9:27 am

    I tried posting this to an earlier thread but it must have gotten spam filtered away. This is a headline from about a week ago.

    Kyle man heard popping from outside plane before emergency landing

  8. djw said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 9:43 am

    When I was growing up, our city installed a sign on our street that said "SLOW CHILDREN AT PLAY." We were pretty sure it was in the wrong place because we didn't consider any of the kids in our neighborhood slow.

  9. Toma said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

    I saw a sign that said "Watch for trucks." I offered them my watch but they refused to give me a truck.

  10. Andrew (not the same one) said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 12:09 pm

    No, no, you were meant to offer them a truck, in which case they would have given you a watch.

  11. maidhc said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    I remember many years ago hearing a radio commercial for Sears Optical Department. The subject was three reasons why you should go to Sears for optical needs:

    First something or other …
    Second something or other …
    Third eyes examined without an appointment

    It reminded me of a Chas. Addams cartoon.

  12. Gregory Kusnick said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

    "SLIDE AHEAD" always makes me want to jam on my brakes and go into a prolonged skid until I reach the "END SLIDE AREA" sign.

  13. Anthea Fleming said,

    October 22, 2014 @ 11:07 pm

    There used to be a road cutting between cliffs in New South Wales. It had a sign which read FALLING ROCKS DO NOT STOP. Strictly truthful, they don't… not till they hit the ground anyway.

    Victorian roads used to have a sign LOOSE STONES TRAVEL SLOWLY.
    That's not true at all.

  14. Keith said,

    October 23, 2014 @ 1:36 am


    That must have been in the days when Tuesday Lobsang Rampa worked at Sears Roebuck.

  15. George said,

    October 23, 2014 @ 7:05 am


    I think the caps in this particular case may be due to nothing more than hitting 'return' after each word while typing the sign, with the capitalisation happening automatically, rather than its being due to any decision to capitalise each word.

    Regarding the apparent ridiculousness of something like 'ears pierced while you wait' (which I'm pretty sure I actually have seen), it seems to me that 'while you wait' has become, in the context of signs such as this, an expression that simply means "It won't take long and you probably won't need to make an appointment".

  16. Ray Dillinger said,

    October 23, 2014 @ 9:20 am

    One that I particularly notice is a sign I see after driving for very slow, traffic-jammed miles through roads constricted to a single lane along sticky, stinky construction sites. It says "End Road Work." By that time I'm so disgusted with road work that I'm ready to take up the picket sign and join the protest. But there never seem to be any other protesters…

  17. R Fandango said,

    October 23, 2014 @ 9:34 am

    It took me a few seconds to realise that the dual meaning of "battery" also adds a disturbing twist… o.O

  18. Dana said,

    October 27, 2014 @ 9:56 am

    My favorite ubiquitous version of this is looking at all the signs that end "Police take notice", and wondering whether somewhere there is a police department with quite a collection of them.

  19. ZZMike said,

    November 1, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

    I found this one on a Burger King that was being remodeled:

    Temporally Close for
    Sorry for the inconvenience

    I noted that it's a lot easier to do remodeling on something that’s temporally close, rather than far away (as in the distant past or future).

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