Thank You For Shopping Here Your Business Is Appreciated
March 12, 2012 12:34 PM   Subscribe

What can you tell me about those red signs that say Thank You For Shopping Here Your Business Is Appreciated?

They seem to be incredibly widespread, in the US at least. I've seen them on both coasts and in the Midwest. Their prevalence seems unprecedented and possibly meaningful in a way I'm not grasping. I'd like to make more sense of them.

I'm curious about:

• Where do they come from? (Some distributor of convenience store goods? Some government program for supporting small retailers?)

• When did they start appearing? (Did you start noticing them at any particular time? Was there a similar mass-produced sign that preceded them?)

• Why do business owners put them up?

• Appearances in popular or unpopular culture (I'm 95% sure I saw one appear in a hip hop video once, apparently as an icon of life in the 'hood — I'd love to see this or similar examples of the use of this sign as a symbol).

• Personal experiences (types of businesses you've seen them at, what you associate with them, parts of the country or world that you've seen them in...)

Inevitably, since I've started wondering about them I haven't seen a single one in the wild, or I'd have asked the business owner some of these questions myself!
posted by bubukaba to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
In NYC, I tend to see these posted exclusively outside of bodegas/mom and pop convenience stores. I assume they exist for the same reason you get bags that say "THANKS FOR SHOPPING HERE" instead of just plain bags. That is, it makes you look like you give that much more of a shit about your clientele than someone who isn't doing that. I could be wrong, of course.
posted by griphus at 12:37 PM on March 12, 2012

To me (at least in the photo you posted) it seems like a polite way to say "No Loitering" or at least a way to guilt loiterers into not loitering.
posted by chndrcks at 12:52 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is totally anecdotal, but I swear I first saw those signs appear in Los Angeles shortly after the Rodney King-related rioting. I felt they were a direct response to that, and were really saying, "If the rioting comes again please don't burn this business down." I have no idea if that is factually true but it's certainly been my impression.

And off the top of my head I think they're supplied by the alcohol distributors. I really only see them here on liquor stores and the kind of low-rent convenience store that mainly exists to sell liquor.
posted by BlahLaLa at 12:55 PM on March 12, 2012

I think they might be frames that hold advertising. When there's no promotion going on, it looks better than being empty. I could imagine a frame being installed and filled for a short time after the store opens, then for whatever reason the owners of the store stop using it and it forever says "thanks".
posted by the jam at 12:57 PM on March 12, 2012 [6 favorites]

I see them a lot in the SE US too, and never gave it much thought, but here's a crazy idea - are they placeholders in a frame that can be used to slide in promotional posters? Do you ever see sale posters or the like in the same place? Kinda like that picture of a generic attractive person that's always in your picture frame when you buy it...
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:57 PM on March 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by randomkeystrike at 12:57 PM on March 12, 2012

Seconding what the jam and randomkeystrike say. The one that was on display outside of our old neighborhood bodega seemed to be the default sign that was displayed when they couldn't sell the advertising space to anyone else. The bodega generally displayed government-sponsored messages (anti-smoking, lotto ads, etc), but occasionally defaulted to the "Thank You.." sign. Mid to late 2000s, NYC, across the street from a housing project fwiw.
posted by twoporedomain at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2012

More confirmation (2008) for the bookable space backing board theory.
posted by ulotrichous at 1:07 PM on March 12, 2012

My personal theory(since I've wondered about this too) was that I really started to see them when outdoor cigarette advertizing on small store fronts was cracked down on. I always wondered if they were somehow being subsidized by cigarette companies to hold the space or something like that or subconsciously brand/advertise the color combo red and white.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 3:00 PM on March 12, 2012

That had occurred to me as well. In the US, regulations about advertising, especially for cigarettes and booze, seem to change weekly. I think the cigarette companies were paying the stores something for the point of purchase advertising, hung the frames up, and then may have not been able to use them any more at some point.
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:57 PM on March 12, 2012

The two little corner stores closest to me in DC have them. I'd call the places bodegas, except for the fact that they're run by Ethiopians. It's a "transitional" neighborhood, on the outskirts of the historic district with lots of lower-income folks.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:01 AM on April 3, 2012

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