No Food or Drink Sign

This week’s topic for Human Talk is “No Food or Drink” signs. (If you didn’t catch the bold graphic above.)

I was in the mall a few days ago wasting some time before seeing a movie, and I started to notice these signs posted on the outsides of some of the stores. Then I came to a store that had a big sign that said “Grand Opening” in huge letters and posted next to it was a “No Food or Drink” sign. It was your typical mall store for teenage girls that sells clothes and jewelry. It’s not like they were selling something Italian leather jackets and mink coats. So why were they making such a fuss?

This got me thinking, about the purpose of a “No Food or Drink” sign. It is put up in an effort to reduce the risk of a customer dirtying up the store and ruining a product by accidentally spilling their drink or getting Auntie Anne’s pretzel cheese on it. Damaged goods and dirty stores would obviously be bad for business.

Here’s the but… 

This is where I think you have to look beyond what you see on paper. What about the percentage of potential buyers that don’t enter at all just because they have a soft drink from the food court in hand? For every 1 slobby customer that puts their frappuccino fingers all over the merchandise, 20 customers may walk on by and never come back just because they don’t want to pitch the $5.00 drink they just bought in the trash.

It’s a bad idea to build a business and enforce policies around changing the habits of customers that you don’t want.


What do you think a better strategy would be?


This post is part of the Human Talk series. 

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