Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Help Me Howard: Locksmith Stickers
For a business to succeed, you have to advertise. But how far can you go before you break the law? It's tonight's question for Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- If you own a business, you need customers. The best way to get them of course, is advertising on TV, the radio, even handing out flyers to people, putting them on car windshields or on houses.
Donald Gray knows the importance of customers. He is the property manager of the Coco Centre Plaza in Margate.
Donald Gray: "It's a good job, pretty exciting from time to time, and you get to work with a lot of different people, you get to work with community."
But one business owner has been giving him a headache for 10 years.
Donald Gray: "Just about every year he comes around and stickers all the doors, puts his sticker on all the doors, and in some cases he'll cover an alarm sticker with it."
Unwanted, unsolicited stickers advertising a locksmith, not stuck in door frames or on windshields, stuck on doors, windows, even to mailboxes.
Donald Gray: "To get it off is a problem. Sometimes it will pull of paint, or it is difficult to get them off."
As the property manager, it's Donald's job to stop the sticking, and he has tried.
Donald Gray: "I've tried to get him to stop, he won't stop. I asked him nicely to begin with, and then things got belligerent, but he also told me to go take a leap."
Five years ago, Donald called the Margate Police. They visited the locksmith and warned him to stop sticking his ads at the center, but year after year Donald says the stickers promoting the locksmith kept showing up.
Donald Gray: "It seems to me it is defacing property. I compared it to somebody using graffiti."
Then, a few weeks ago, another pass-by-plastering.
Donald Gray: "It didn't look like anything was going to be done again, so that's when I called Help Me Howard."
Well, Howard, when it comes to brochures and stickers, how far can you go to advertise your business?
Howard Finkelstein: "You can do anything to promote your business short of violating the law. For example, it's not illegal to hand out flyers on a public sidewalk. But it is illegal to place flyers in someone's mailbox. People get away with it because no one complains. But when you slap stickers on a car or a business, no matter what city, chances are you're breaking the law and someone is going to get upset."
Turns out the locksmith had not only been putting the stickers on shopping centers.
Officer Williams: "He's been wallpapering the complex with his flyers. He's even struck the Margate Police Department. Our neighborhood policing department has been papered with his flyers."
When police confronted the locksmith years ago, he promised to stop and remove the unwanted stickers. When they found out he did it a few weeks ago, they cited him for putting up signs without the property owner's consent.
Officer Williams: "The process now is he has to go before the city and explain his actions, explain why five years after we told him to stay out of our city, wallpapering businesses with his flyers and stickers, he is still here doing it."
The locksmith owner told us that he hired some kids to put up the labels, that he had told them not to go to Margate. He added, I have no intention of ever doing anything in Margate again. Pardon Donald if he is a little skeptical.
Donald Gray: "I would say, no, but this guy's been pretty consistent for the last 10 years, so it still remains to be seen."
Patrick Fraser: "Why did the locksmith get away with it for years if it's against the law in Margate? Police told us they had a tough time tracking him down. What they didn't tell us, cops prioritize, they go after murders, rapists, robbers, way before they go after people slapping stickers on doors, and that makes sense."
Stuck on a problem that is peeling away your sanity? Wanna lock up a solution? Advertise with us. Our advice is not unsolicited, but hopefully it sticks with you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
EMAIL: email@example.com (Please include your contact phone number when emailing)