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written by Sam Greenspan

Gotta love when a restaurant avoids confrontation with a perfectly-done sign.

This list was inspired by two things. One, I saw about 25 people post the first sign from this list on Facebook in the past week. And two, I’ve been feeling extra non-confrontational lately, so I like to make myself not feel like a total coward by basking in other people’s collective cowardice.

These are 11 of my favorite passive-aggressive signs posted by stores and restaurants. A home run’s from behind the meatballs.

1 | The worst meatball sandwich in town

This is the sign that finally brought on this list. The Internet deduced that it’s from a restaurant called JoeDough in Manhattan’s East Village. And yup, right there on their Yelp page, a review from Philip A. on February 10th said “Probably the worst meatball sandwich… in my 32 years of living here.” So this isn’t just funny passive-aggressive advertising, it’s truthful passive-aggressive advertising. The best part? If I saw this sign, I would absolutely want to try that meatball sandwich.

2 | Employees gone wild

Now granted, neither sign is going to win an award for being well-written. But I’ll trade a misspelled “habit” or a missing “get” for such perfect behind-the-scenes info on why these places are closed. I would not, however, be willing to forgive a your/you’re switch — even for the sake of a fantastic passive-aggressive sign. It’s important to recognize your values and priorities, ya know?

3 | Retail’s hail mary

I was at a high-end clothing store a few weeks ago (for the famous burger restaurant attached to the store not high-end clothes, naturally). As I wandered to the bathroom I passed a sweatshirt I really liked — and realized immediately that I could go home and certainly find it online for so much cheaper. I’ve read articles about department stores in other countries having to charge a dressing room fee because some people take it further — they try on the clothes in a store, then go home and buy them online. This sign is a broader, passive-aggressive equivalent of Apu saying “this is not a library.”

4 | The cigarette infestation

On the surface, seems like a cheeky — never used that word before, don’t like that it felt right here, never plan to use it again — way to get people to use an ashtray. Only when you actually think about it, this restaurant is tacitly admitting they have a cockroach problem. I don’t think the health inspector is going to overlook a cockroaches infestation even if those cockroaches all have lung cancer.

5 | Do not try on

One can only imagine the sequence of events that made this sign a necessity. Like, you probably don’t need this sign after one incident; if one crazy person opened a pack of condoms, dropped his pants, and tried on a condom you don’t go back to the printer to make a sign. I’m speculating that it happened at least a few times in a relatively short period of time. (And has there ever been a store that needed these signs in the suppository section?)

6 | L33t lingo for leaving La Luna’s letters alone

They couldn’t figure out a replacement for the missing U in “OUR”? How about a zero with a piece of masking tape over the top? Also, why did the thieves leave them with at least four T, two Ls, two Is and two Rs but only one U? Haven’t they seen Wheel of Fortune? All of the letters they left behind en masse are more valuable than the U. This is just like watching Lost or having a conversation with Rowdy Roddy Piper — questions layered on questions.

7 | I miss Circuit City

Since they went under I haven’t gotten a receipt tall enough to play small forward in the NBA.

8 | Erotic relaxation?

My favorite part of this sign is the implication that yes, they used to provide erotic relaxation but have now stopped. Going from a happy ending massage parlor to a straight-and-narrow massage parlor has to be a rocket ship to flopville. Like the Police Academy movies without Guttenberg or Alcohol-Free Duff.

9 | The bridal shop fee

They were kind enough to leave off “That means you, 9x bridesmaid.” I’m trying to figure out the male equivalent of single women trying on wedding dresses and I’m fairly sure it’s getting a customized football jersey with your name on the back.

10 | No rice dicks

I never thought of it that way… but if I ever got a job as a sushi chef, I’m pretty sure I would make a rice dick within the first hour. And if you think you’re any more mature… if I showed up at your door right now and handed you Play-Doh, silly putty or Cranium clay, how long do you think it’d be before you made a dick? 30 seconds? 45?

11 | Borders sums things up

See, THIS is the advantage of a workforce primarily made up of people with master’s degrees.