Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sign Spammers Get Crafty, Still Can't Stop the Hawkman

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

After Hawthorne finished our clean sweep, I gave a call over to the Irving Inquisition to see how Jordan might be doing with theirs.  He bragged that the good neighbors over at JACC turned out more volunteers, were working longer, and would be more thorough than Hawthorne.  Well, he may have beaten me at racquetball, but I wouldn't let even good-natured trash talk to go unanswered.  So I decided to make a round and take down more of the sign spam that had cropped up like a bad rash.

The first sign right next to my house was felled with a solitary blow.  But although the signs were all for the same slimy investor, that was the only one that came down so easily.  All the rest were bolted on and wouldn't come off with just a hit or two from a broomstick.

If this were just one or two signs, I might have just let things slide.  But when there's upwards of twenty, then something has to be done.  Undaunted, I went to North End Hardware and asked them...

...what they had that would cut through cheap, corrugated plastic.  Ideally I was looking for a set of shears or clippers where one blade was made from Excalibur and the other came from the Honjo Masamune.

This would have to suffice.

It's really too bad that nobody was available to get this on video, because I have sign removal from bolts down to a science.  First, cut a triangle around the lower bolt, leaving the middle bolt alone.  Then cut straight along the "grain" of the corrugated plastic until you get to the remaining bolt.  Then cut the sign around the bolt, always turning the sign so that you make the same cut several times.  Once I was in a rhythm, I could get this done in as little as 30 seconds.

You'll be left with a few bits of plastic on the pole, unfortunately.

But the sign is down.
Twenty-one signs in the Hawthorne, Jordan, Near North, Willard-Hay, and Victory neighborhoods came down today.  I saw Mr. Hillside Chronicle on the back of a garbage truck and yelled that I was going to get the sign spam at 26th and Penn.  I proceeded to pull out a stepladder and the shears, and walked right into the middle of a group of people waiting for the bus.  Before anyone realized what was happening, I already had the sign down and was on to the next one.

If I missed any, or if the spammers hit a lot of places north of Lowry, let me know in the comments section.


  1. Thanks for doing this Hawkman. So many had appeared lately. I had not noticed the bolts, but I had noticed the spammers are putting them much higher. I'm glad you were tenacious enough to manage to get them down.

  2. So...Aside from the esthetics of these crappy signs, aren't there some safety or property rights issues related to mounting advertisements on utility poles?

    I mean the contact info is posted right on the sign. Why aren't the City or Utility companies pursuing these guys?

    Maybe another tact might be to spam those numbers with so many false leads they become useless.

  3. Great work Mr. North by Northside!!! The night before clean sweep, the II and I took down about 6 of those signs on West Broadway. We also noticed that they were placed higher than they use to be...but I can reach them with a little boost.

    Thanks for staying on top of these sign spammers!!

  4. I carry a step stool for the higher signs.

    Not sure if I can say I have inspired this person, but someone told me that she saw an older dude (70's or 80's) with a stepladder on Penn and 42nd, whacking away at sign spam too. Warm the heart, doesn't it?

    And does anybody know if the corrugated plastic used for these signs is recyclable? I suppose I can call solid waste tomorrow to find out for sure.


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