I was driving by the Volkswagen dealership the other day, when I saw that they had placed the letters backwards, spelling ELAS instead of SALE.

Now some people would argue that this was done intentionally, because of the way traffic is coming. If it was meant to be read from people coming from the other direction, it is still a fail. First, because half of the traffic isn't coming from that direction. Second, because even people coming from that direction are reading the last letter first, which goes against the western style of reading from left to right. This isn't written in Arabic.

The word sale would still be best displayed in the correct left to right format, as people coming from both directions would be able to easily identify it.

So if they did this on accident, it is a FAIL. If they did it on purpose, it is still a fail, because it just doesn't make sense, or work from all directions.


  1. Not really a fail. The way the cars with the letters are positioned suggests potential readers will approach the "s" first (coming in from the right of the picture). Hence the "s" should be on the far right, as it is the first letter you're supposed to read, the "a" is next and so on. Makes sense, just seems to clash with the traditional Western reading direction.

  2. Um, no, it's still a fail. In your field of vision, you're still going to see the E on the left hand side. When you're accustomed to reading left to right, the E will stand out first, then the L, and so on. Fail. Fail fail fail.

  3. Wasn't this at the John Elas Volkswagen dealer on Main Street ?

  4. This is the 3rd time I've seen this. So, if the sale is still going on, it's a win. If it's not, their viral marketing campaign took too long, and that's a fail.

  5. If you've seen it three times, it's my success, because I took the picture in Sandy, Utah. That's means it's getting around.

  6. Sorry, been away for a few weeks. Hope it still makes sense to answer (I'm the first "anonymous").
    It is not a fail:
    a) people approaching from the left won't be able to read any of the signsanyway b/c the cars are parked at an angle; they do not have to be catered for
    b) this is the same principle that applies to basically any written message on US roads: e.g. "Keep Clear" at a crossroads. Take a look next time you come to one: it says "Keep" first, then "Clear". Now, according to your reasoning, what you really read is "Clear Keep" b/c we not only read left to right, but top to bottom as well; and seen from above it definitely spells "Clear Keep".
    My point is that this kind of sign has to be conceived in four dimensions. Time is more relevant here than position. You're not meant to perceive all letters at the same time, but rather one at a time. Spelling S A L E.

    No fail.