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July 29, 2004 12:08 AM

Broken: Coffee shop sign

coffeeI saw this sign near Astor Place in Manhattan.

For ten bucks ("$10.0", as the sign says), this cup of coffee must really be as "extraordinary" as promised. Not to mention shade-grown, organic, and all the rest.

Note to coffee shops - before you get a sign professionally printed, get the decimal point in the right place!

By the way, if you like coffee, try these Manhattan coffee shops. (Also San Francisco coffee shops, Boston coffee shops, even Seattle coffee shops...)


Sorry, but this cleary reads Coffee $1. The dot isn't between the two, smaller, zeros, it's beneath them. If there had been printed the customary dash there instead of the dot, whould it read "$10-0"?

Posted by: Michael at July 29, 2004 03:15 AM

It's very unclear. It could have so easy just said "$1." At least it used the apostrophes correctly!

Posted by: Yeskin Gallen at July 29, 2004 05:20 AM


People read English left to right, top to bottom.

The standard way to read the sign would *not* be $ 1 . 0 0

I could understand your argument if the point was *above* the two zeros - but not if they are below.



Posted by: mjwills at July 29, 2004 06:38 PM

Why am I the only one who thinks this is completely on purpose? I know, it's counter-intuitive -- If I saw that sign and I was a coffee drinker I'd think "OH BOY COFFEE FOR A DOLLAR" and then notice it was ten dollars and I'd get a running start and kick that goddamn sign across the street. FIELD GOAL MILWAUKEE!

And this is not what any business owner wants. But businesses fail. They fail for many reasons, and businesses have made worse blunders than this. Gene, I'm voting for "On Purpose."

Posted by: Ummmm at July 30, 2004 02:55 AM

_@_v - i think the signmaker intended the little decimal point to be a 'nose' to the pair of 00 'eyes'...

_@_v - however it doesn't really work all that well...

Posted by: she-snailie_@_v at July 30, 2004 07:37 AM

This reminds me of the countless incorrect signs I see for .99 cents. It should be 99 cents or $0.99. But .99 cents is less than 1 cent, and is not the intended sale price.

Posted by: Bob Sifniades at July 30, 2004 08:09 AM

This is a very old-style form of currency design. If you look at old ads, late 19th to very early 20th century, you will see a similar design. It looks odd to our modern eyes since we're not used to seeing in that sense it is broken, but it is not intentionally misleading. It is an archaic typographic treatment that is so out of date it's not kitschy but confusing (it is conceivable that in the not-too-distant future, the cents symbol will be unrecognizable to modern audiences given how infrequently it is currently used).

Posted by: MacDadi at July 30, 2004 09:39 AM

I was just about to ask why no one has a sense of humor anymore. But then I saw the posting from "she-snailie".

Yes, a nose for sure. I agree!

And, yes, we all can infer that the cup o' coffee is NOT 10 dollars. But, for the purpose of this FUN site - the sign is broken. 19th or early 20th century design not withstanding.

Posted by: jackaroe at July 30, 2004 10:18 AM

Yes, it is a $10 cup of coffee. It's Manhattan.

Posted by: disconnect at July 30, 2004 04:22 PM

Hm. Must be metric.

Posted by: Frank at July 30, 2004 04:31 PM

ja, is the coffee *actually* $10?

Posted by: Bob at May 18, 2005 12:11 PM

Bob, you are wrong. .99 is in fact 99 cents.

1 Cent is represented as .01. So there!!!

Posted by: Stan at May 26, 2005 02:41 AM

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