My husband and I were driving through the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania when we got the hot tip from an in-the-know local.
“There’s a farm market on the route to your hotel near Fallingwater with perfectly ripe peaches on sale,” our friend Anna, the Laurel Highlands expert messaged me (likely with peach juice dripping over her typing fingers). “Try to stop there on your way back!”
Ever-eager for nibbles, I plugged “Pletcher’s Farm Market” into our map. Little did I guess: The store would provide not just peaches, but also gales of laughter from a certain sassy sign hanging on a big red building…
Now, I think about signs a lot during my travels around the world, seeing as how my face ended up on a giant billboard in West Africa without my knowledge (HUH?!), and given that my photo of a genius sign in India has had over 16,000 views.
However, I admit that I was caught off guard by Pletcher’s sign humor. You see, at first glance, Pletcher’s seems like an innocent farm market. Then, this sign bursts into your face:
“We absolutely DO NOT guarantee plants,” it reads. “Some people just don’t have a green thumb. If it was planted since late January and beautiful when you bought it and dead a week later then that should tell you something.”
Oooooo! Now that’s FRESH! (Get it?) But wait — there’s more!
“Please do not come up to us and tell us where you can buy something cheaper. We don’t care and we work way too hard to listen to it. We will kindly tell you to go there then. If you don’t like a price just quietly LEAVE. For those of you who don’t complain, we greatly appreciate your business. We couldn’t have been here 30 plus years without you! Thanks.”
I know around the world, shopkeepers are reading this and cheering!
I had to know more. What led to this sign? Who wrote it and why?
Soon, I sleuthed it out. Via the Pletcher’s Facebook page, I tracked down the owner, Brian. He revealed the following…
“We are a 4-generation farming family, Brian explained, “and Pletcher’s Farm Market has been at our current location for 32 years.”
“Wow!” I replied. “But… what about that sign?”
“Ha!” Brian replied. “I make all the signs. I just tell it like it is! It gets exhausting working 7 days a week without a day off from April through November, and I get too tired to deal with a bunch of… you know.”
“Ah yes!” I typed back. “Well said!”
Despite the cheeky sass of the sign, however, it was clear talking to Brian that his family pours its heart and soul into the farm and market.
“We really appreciate our customers,” Brian continued, “and we work very hard to do a good job.”
Pletcher’s farm is 42 acres, and their market is stocked with the freshest produce grown there, as well as delectable produce from local farms around Pennsylvania. (FYI, just 23 minutes away sits Ligonier, a cute town with a fabulous garden and glass paperweight collection, plus Linn Run State Park for some juicy Laurel Highlands hiking trails.)
Browsing customer comments on Pletcher’s Facebook page, it turns out that people come all the way from Pittsburgh (an hour drive) to indulge in the fresh yummies! If you are or will be in the area, it’s worth it to follow the page, which is frequently updated with specials and sales.
There is a moral in this story: Humor has power! I was not paid to write this article (either in dollars or peaches, thank you very much) but was moved to do so because that sign made me laugh, and I wanted to share it with you.
Similarly, one of the most memorable places I’ve ever stayed in was this spot in Belize because it had the funniest welcome packet in history. Cleverness makes a difference!
Just as art has the power to turn around a neighborhood (think of the wild rainbow house called Randyland in Pittsburgh!), a place that makes you smile can turn around your heart.
Laughing connects and refreshes us. I’ll try to keep this in mind, going into my 15th year teaching as of this week, by keeping my goofy jokes coming!
So what about you? Did that sign make you laugh? Have you heard of Pletcher’s before? Which of these fruits and veggies do you most want to devour? Do share!
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