Via Dan Casey *Roa Times
Such was Carolyn Kiser’s reaction when she arrived to work on a recent morning and found a gigantic, steaming pile of poop on her employer’s doorstep.
What a crappy way to begin the work day, you know?
What made it even crappier is, it’s been going on for weeks along the raised concrete sidewalk that serves Warehouse Row.
It seems the elegantly restored, historic strip of brick office lofts along Norfolk Avenue has of late become a nighttime (or early morning) doggy latrine, probably for some canine-owning downtown dweller.
Nobody has yet spied the offending pooch or its insensitive owner. But the evidence is revoltingly obvious every time they strike.
Kiser could have slowly stewed over this grievous affront.
But she’s an account executive for the Becher Agency, a Roanoke advertising shop.
She quickly found an outlet for her disgust and frustration.
“I sent an e-mail to the creative team,” she told me. “Will someone make a poster designating [Warehouse Row] as a ‘poop-free’ zone?”
Faster than a greyhound gallops, the first anti-poop poster was born: It begins with tiny orange letters on a fittingly brown background:
“Despite what your dog might think, this is a … ” it reads. And then the letters morph into giant capitals: “POOP FREE ZONE.”
That was only the beginning.
Soon, the creative team was churning out new anti-poop posters:
n “We don’t poop on your front step DON’T POOP ON OURS.”
n “In case you’re confused THIS IS NOT YOUR YARD.”
n “You expect us to pick up your poop? WHAT A LOAD OF SH*T.”
n “The grass is always greener. WHY POOP HERE?”
n “Next time, leave an address. WE’D LIKE TO RETURN YOUR CRAP.”
And my personal favorite:
n “Picking up after your dog isn’t just the law, IT’S YOUR DOODIE.”
(That fine play on words also happens to be true in the city of Roanoke. Not cleaning up your dog’s mess is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $250.)
“This is what happens when I turn my back and the creative team gets going,” owner Thomas Becher cracked.
But they still weren’t done having fun with doorstep doggy doo.
Next, on the social networking site Facebook, the agency launched the “Partnership for the Poop Free Workplace,” rallying pooped-upon businesses everywhere.
“Located in downtown Roanoke, Virginia, we are a group of professional companies, downtrodden and depressed by the obvious lack of respect and dog-doo-baggies shown by local dog owners,” the page reads.
“We realize, however, that atrocities of this nature happen all over these United States, and we welcome others to spread the word in their own community. Large corporations, small businesses — whoever you are, help end the tyranny of poop at YOUR workplace!”
As of Monday, the page had tallied 57 “likes.”
Thursday afternoon, Becher Agency employees tittered as they mounted the signs along the brick exterior of Warehouse Row.
And they invited yours truly, the most full-of-you-know-what columnist they know, to witness the moment.
It’s a good idea, this Partnership for a Poop Free Workplace. But there are a lot of directions you can take this movement in, right?
How about the Partnership for a Poop-Free Neighborhood? That could be a great boon to Grandin Court, where I live. It seems I can’t go a week without finding a malodorous gift on my postage stamp-sized front lawn.
And how about a Partnership for Poop-Free Parks, or a Partnership for Poop-Free Public Spaces?
It seems like the Becher Agency may be on the cusp of a national Poop-Free movement of many stripes.
Of course, there are risks in such an endeavor.
An advertising shop might not want to be known far and wide for creating the Partnership for A Poop-Free World.
It might be tough to live down the many resulting jokes: The crappiest ad agency in the country. Poop Masters Public Relations. Etc.
But there’s another way of looking at it, too.
When you can take what is literally a pile of crap and use it to focus the outrage of doggie doo victims far and wide, what do you have?
I call it a public service.
Dog owners: Pick up your pooch’s messes.
Dan Casey’s column runs Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.
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