Escape from “No” York

DoYouNeedChange3.jpgNext time you’re walking in New York City, count the number of signs you see that tell you NOT to do something.

On a recent 12-block amble between meetings in Midtown, I got up to 53 pretty fast, without really trying. 

Retailers are among the biggest finger-waggers: No public restrooms, no foreign currency, no firearms. (Yikes!)

While I know many of these notices are well-intentioned, they are also unwelcoming. That’s why I found the sign above so refreshing when I saw it on the door of a stationery store near Columbia University yesterday.

Any extra hassles? As it turns out, no. The manager on duty told me that people rarely abuse the offer and that more folks, like me, comment on what a welcome departure it is from the growing number of “no, no, no” signs we all encounter every day.

Total cost to the store: $50 or less for the sign. Total goodwill generated: Priceless. Incremental sales of pens, notebooks and cards: You bet.

Now if I could only I could find a business in the neighborhood that was equally magnanimous about using its restroom.