Auto Service World
News   January 25, 2016   by Allan Janssen

Sign Controversy: used-car lot draws ire on social media

Twitter and Facebook lit up about the comment, with many finding the comment misogynistic and offensive.

14-Billboard-3A P.E.I. used car salesman’s sense of humor has gotten him in trouble on social media.

Mellish Motors, in New Annan, P.E.I, offered what it thought was a ‘cute’ witticism on its store-front sign: “Women are like snowflakes… they can’t drive.”

Predictably, Twitter and Facebook lit up about the comment, with many finding the comment misogynistic and offensive.

And now, others in the automotive aftermarket are weighing in.

14-Billboard-1Josie Candito, owner of a Master Mechanic shop on Howard Park Avenue in Toronto, has posted a reply on her storefront sign: “Mellish Motors… My Canada includes respect for women!” It also offers the hashtag #WomenCanDrive to further the conversation.

Other offers of support are coming in on social media from shop owners and technicians.

Mellish Motors manager John Mellish, who started the controversy with his roadside comment says he never meant to offend anyone, telling a reporter, “I do respect women 100 per cent.”

14-Billboard-4But follow-up signs in front of his facility only seemed to stoke the fires of controversy, suggesting: “Sensitive Women Don’t Read This Sign. You Know Who You Are!” and then “Attention Drama Queens, Auditions for Today Have Been Cancelled!”

He even posted a joke meant to give equal humorous treatment to men: “Used Cars Are Like Husbands: Great Looking, But All Have Issues.”

Replies from readers of online news stories, as well as Facebook and Twitter users, run the gamut from support to condemnation.

Candito said she posted the message in front of her shop to remind Mellish Motors that, “It’s 2016 and women are respected. We deserve more than to be treated like that.”

She says Mellish’s billboard goes against everything she’s trying to accomplish as the female owner of an auto business: respecting women as consumers, and empowering them to make decisions about their vehicles.

“A lot of women will feel when they go in that the guy is going to take advantage,” she told the CBC.

The story has been reported by news outlets around the world, including Buzzfeed, Mic magazine, the Toronto Star, the Daily Mail in the U.K. and the Huffington Post.

Mellish said he is known for provocative signs, and said he’ll continue to put up signs that push people’s buttons.

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3 Comments » for Sign Controversy: used-car lot draws ire on social media
  1. Getting your jollies pushing people’s buttons is rarely a valid plan for demonstrating or attracting respect or being kind &/or honorable. Simple because you can, doesn’t mean you should. I am also a female shop owner. After 35 years working mostly with men, I have a very thick skin and know that I understand what makes them tick far more than I do women. Low humor designed to get the cheap laugh at the expense of others gets you the cheap, disrespectful &/or bigoted attitude reputation and works against attracting the broad range of customers every business needs to be fully successful. Apart from a few comedians who live in an entirely different world, few have ever made a good living by attacking others.

  2. bill wright says:

    RESPECT is EARNED not DESERVED because of gender

  3. Randy haugen says:

    What a great way to get free advertising lol

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