I have a theory with regard to neighborhood gentrification. I believe there is a direct correlation between the amount of new money being pumped into a community and the number of simple chalkboard A-frame signs lining the sidewalks of the neighborhood. When the neighborhood is poor, the shopkeepers advertise with large garish neon colored posters. They are usually stuck right on the windows.
Conversely, when the new money arrives, the posters are pulled down and the shopkeepers start scratching out simple folksy chalkboard advertisements. They are placed on the sidewalks. To gild the lily, some will also set a water bowl down for the dogs.
It is my belief that the shopkeepers in the poor neighborhood think their potential customers can’t read very well and so the bold colors are necessary to pull them into the store to spend money. Conversely as the neighbors’ change, the storekeepers believe the newcomers are better readers and appreciate a turn of phrase. Additionally, they understand their potential customers have money to spend, yet they don’t want to be seen spending it in an attention grabbing way. A handwritten chalkboard looks practical and simple and belies the fact that they are going into a store to buy something silly and indulgent like gourmet dog biscuits; at $20 per dozen.
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