Many of us, I expect, are familiar with the Broken Window Fallacy. Today, I present you with a corollary called the "Dented Sign Axiom."
First, some background... Towards the end of summer every year, a certain university I attended and am a fan of (but shall remain nameless to protect the identities of idiots) comes to us for end zone signs. Over the last dozen or so years, this university has gone from football laughingstock to perennial bowl-goer. When I was a student there and the football team stunk, advertisers would refuse to have their image seen anywhere in, on, or around the football stadium. Now that we're a decent team, advertisers want their image all over the stadium. People come to us with crazy ideas like "see that little blank spot way up on the wall? Can you fit another sign in there?" Some of the most desirable locations are in the end zones, where the TV cameras often linger after a score.
Most years, there a four or five, maybe six companies that either buy end zone space or want to change the look of their existing end zone signs. This year, everybody's tightening their belt. We sold exactly ZERO end zone signs this year. That's about $10k we're not going to see. Ouch... But wait! There are stupid people galloping onto the scene to make my rescue! Woohoo!
The university Lacrosse team was practicing down on the football field the other day. One of those bright young fellows noticed that those fancy end zone signs, made of DiBond, have interesting properties when struck with a lacrosse ball. The ball bounces back! Golly! So all of a sudden the lacrosse team is down there zinging those hard rubber lacrosse balls against the end zone signs and catching the rebounds with their little stickbaskets. What they didn't notice (or didn't care about) was that each strike from the lacrosse ball was leaving a VERY OBVIOUS crater-like dent in the sign. In short order, all the end zone signs were dimpled like the surface of a golf ball. The advertisers were, oh, shall we say a little bit FREAKIN' P.O.'d! Some of the dents hammer out like a ding in a fender, but some are beyond repair. Which means suddenly we have a WHOLE BUNCH of sign work to complete before the first home game in a couple weeks. Woooo!
The Broken Window Fallacy shows that there is no economic benefit to going around breaking windows. But the Dented Sign Axiom proves that dented signs are very beneficial to people in the sign & engraving biz. Plus, it's a state school so I'm sure there's a taxpayer getting screwed here somewhere. Yay for redistribuitionism!