This time of year, a lot of people gripe about the election signs that seem to be planted just about everywhere. I personally am grateful to any candidate who restricts his or her signs to private property – after asking the homeowner for permission. So I was intrigued by the story I heard yesterday from a friend – let’s call him Vaughn.
Vaughn recently discovered a candidate’s sign in his yard. He looked up the candidate’s email address online and fired off a blistering missive:
Tonight at 6:45 pm I pulled out of my driveway and saw that one of your election yard signs had been placed in front of my house in what someone could construe is the property line between our house and our neighbor.
We did not give our permission for the sign to be displayed, nor did my neighbor. The property is landscaped and obviously seen as part of our home or Judy’s next door. Any sign displayed could be construed as an endorsement.
I have taken down the sign if you wish to retrieve it. Please do not place it there again without my express permission or I will file a complaint. I observed you and a gentleman placing signs up on my way home, so I will assume there are signs like this placed elsewhere. I applaud your desire to serve, but in my 18 years living here, no one has ever done this. Until tonight.
Later than night, Vaughn kvetched to his wife “Corrie” about how anyone would dare put a campaign sign in their yard without permission.
Corrie was strangely silent. Too silent.
You can see where there is going, can’t you?
Yes, Corrie sheepishly confessed that she had given the candidate permission. But knowing how much Vaughn hated campaign signs, she asked that it be planted over near the property line, so Vaughn would think it was in the neighbor’s yard. She didn’t tell Vaughn because she knew he’d flip out – which he did.
Corrie emailed the candidate:
My husband just got home and told me that he sent an email to you about our not giving you permission to put your sign on our property, I owe you an apology for not communicating to him that you and I spoke about this. As I mentioned to you when we spoke Saturday, we have not previously given our permission in the past and I in error gave it to you without considering how strongly my husband and I feel about the signs in general – not just yours but all signs as being a blight in our community.
Again, I apologize for my lack of communication and for any confusion or embarrassment this may have caused you.
The candidate came by and retrieved the sign and emailed this to Corrie:
I apologize for not responding to your husband’s email, but I have no record of having received it or I would have come by yesterday. I apologize for any trouble that my excitement to get a sign up in such a great location may have caused you – that was not my intention.
I did come by this evening and picked up the sign behind your recycle bin – thanks for saving the sign.
Thank you for letting me know, and I hope I can count on your support.
Two lessons here: If you give a candidate permission to plant a sign in your yard, tell your spouse. And before firing off an outraged email, get the facts.