Bad signage

December 6, 2013 • 11:47 am

I have no idea where this is from, but I bet it’s from the U.S. At first I thought, “Japan,” because they often garble English, but they wouldn’t have a sign completely in English.  No, it’s somebody misspelling the obvious word.  After all, I once saw this sign on a bin of nuts at my local grocery store: “PENUTS”


33 thoughts on “Bad signage

    1. It’s pretty certain the line should read, “Please use tongs”. It is a pretty curious mistake, though. My guess is that someone typed, “Please use tong” and a spell-corrector changed it to tongue.

      1. You beat me to it, though I’d have thought “tongs” rather than “tong.”

        Spellcheck can result in wondrous goofs but the real lesson here is that no one frickin’ proof-reads any more.

  1. Whenever I see a funny sign like this I am reminded of a church sign Readers’ Digest reported many years ago:

    “Do you know what Hell is?
    Come in and hear our new organist!”

    1. When I was getting my degree, when the front elevator in the Music Building went out and I was asked to put up a sign to that effect, I always wrote, “This elevator is Baroque. Please use the Bach elevator.”


  2. I think that is at the grocery store near me. It’s a small place that has fresh fruit and mexican and asian packaged foods. Ledgewood Farms in NJ.

  3. I used to be responsible for preparing materials for biology labs at a community college. We had a very few lab exercises which involved preparing materials for students to consume. We wanted to keep the glassware used for preparing humans consumables separate from glassware used for preparing chemicals, microbiological media, etc., so I got out some new flasks and verbally instructed one of my assistants to label the flasks “for potable liquids only”. He, a double major in biology and environmental science instead labeled them “for portable liquids only”.

    1. And now I see comment number 10. So the answer to my question is “no”. I guess I should have put my question in a headline.

  4. Years ago I heard of a sign in Japan
    asking English speaking users in a
    “Please to use the defecating ashtrays”.

  5. Well, I personally think this signage makes perfect sense!

    Given that “hands” are the only explicit prohibition here, the baker is sincerely leaving all other parts of one’s anatomy open for touching the bread. Thus, the second line is merely suggesting one use their tongue rather than, say, some “other” appendage when one wishes to probe those beautiful buns!

  6. Of course it could be in Japan. They have lots of signs in English only – for gaijin – and lots of them are hilarious. One of my favorites was seeing “gruel” on the breakfast menu at a fairly upscale hotel.

  7. Our national museum used to have signs saying “Please touch the exhibits only with your eyes” but I think they got over that. Could this be the same figure of speech, meaning “Just ask for it”? (But the autoincorrected “tongs” is more likely.)

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