Saturday, March 5, 2011

Angry 4 ARTS

There was an article in Friday's Monterey Herald about groups promoting special California license plates that help fund the arts. In exchange for a higher vehicle license fee you get plates with a pretty picture and a good feeling knowing you're supporting something worthwhile.

The story reminded me of something that happened back in the mid 1990s when these plates were first introduced. I was working as the assistant manager at the Crossroads Cinemas in Carmel. We had a small display promoting the arts plates on a counter in the lobby. It held brochures that enabled people to order the new plates from the DMV. The front of the brochure had a picture of a sample plate with "4 ARTS" as the plate number.

Seeing this, a woman brought the brochure to me and asked if she could get license plates that had "4 ARTS" on them. I explained that every plate had to have a unique combination of numbers and letters, so probably not.

Well, she threw a fit and accused us of false advertising. Mind you, we were just providing display space, and our company was not directly marketing the plates. She didn't care, in her eyes we were accomplices. She insisted that we remove the display immediately because the DMV shouldn't put a sample plate on the brochure cover if that specific plate wasn't available to her. It was misleading, deceptive, and probably illegal. No amount of reasoning - I said they had to put something on there as an example - could placate her. She was on a crusade, and I was as stubborm corporate mule who couldn't see what a fraud this was.

She finally gave up on me, convinced I was a lost cause. But the license plates are not. If you support the arts, they certainly need your help these days. If you can afford the special plates, get a pair for your car today.

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