I miss the ocean a lot in Bangalore, so when possible I slide down to where I used to live in Kovalam.
It’s a little seaside resort town and is usually rife with tourists. There’s a lot of competition for market share on the beaches, and on the roads not directly on the beach… well things can get a little desperate.
And I think this might be where this sign went wrong.
I can almost hear the conversation that lead to it… you want to get more customers? You should be doing more work on social media – that’ll bring people to you, it’s the modern way.
Which, of course, is true. However, not necessarily in this particular case.
I saw it as I strolled down a busy access road to the beach – busy that is with car traffic and entirely devoid of foot traffic except for me, and I was heading to the service till at the bank not cruising for my evening meal.
It’s a large sign – the sort of plastic material ones you see at trade shows – and it probably stood about the same height as me. Thing is ‘like us on facebook’ works if you’ve got the sort of easily shared product that people look at it and think ‘gosh, that looks good’.
And here we come to the issue: this is just a little road side food place. Nothing fancy, nothing upmarket. Not something that is going to have a buzz about it.
And not something that if a tourist liked on his holidays, it’s not something any of his pals on facebook are going to look at and think – my god, that place looks amazing lets go right now.
To be frank, it doesn’t even look particularly clean or hygienic. That’s the main cooking area in the picture – all open air and covered in grease. Though again, to be fair, a great many places look like this in India and they produce perfectly healthy food. But as ever, I’ve just acclimatised to it in a way that I suspect, other foreigners might not have. Having seen the appalled faces of visitors when I’ve pointed out good places to eat… well, this might be a bit of a hard sell on Facebook.
So, how can this strange collision of modern ideas about signage and social media and more traditional slightly dirty road side dhabas have happened?
Well, obviously I don’t know – but when has that ever stopped me from postulating?
So I think I can see the hand of a business school educated son or daughter in all this. Someone who’s come home from a fancy college – and nearly every middle class child here seems to have a MBA – and they’ve got their parents (or uncle or grandfather), all lashed up about how to draw more people in and this is what everyone is doing…
And before you know it, this completely ridiculous sign is leaning against a tree and I’m photographing it.
Mind you I’ve not actually checked their Facebook page, maybe it’s hundreds of people saying how amazing the food is… but somehow I doubt it.
This sign is part of our regular series, Signage Sundays, where I indulge my obsession for all things sign related (and, I confess, occasionally, a few things that aren’t sign related – but it is mostly signs, and mostly Indian signs at that).
If you’d like to read more check out these vaguely related posts
Or look at the complete list of Signage Sundays.
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