“I like your dog — Dolly, for President. You are my person. Ramen enthusiast. A drawing of a goat’s face. I’ll take a Double Double. Failure is success in progress.” — Albert Einstein.
The General Store
The above messages can be found at General Store Paso Robles in an area we refer to lovingly as Sticker Town (which is separate from Puzzle Town, located in the back corner). Stickers are familiar to anyone who grew up in the 80s, where a trip to the Hallmark Store wasn’t complete without a few sheets of Mrs. Grossman’s rainbow stickers for your Trapper Keeper. (Interestingly, there really is a Mrs. Grossman. She accidentally invented an entire industry in 1979 when some heart stickers she’d ordered for a client’s gift store were delivered on rolls instead of sheets.)
The earliest stickers may have been invented by the Ancient Egyptians. Archaeologists found paper remnants on the walls of markets displaying the prices of goods. After the founder of Avery Labels created the world’s first self-adhesive label in the 30s, there was no going back. Dwight Eisenhower used “I Like Ike” bumper stickers to promote his campaign for President. Resorts and tourist attractions would send staff out to put their branded bumper stickers on every car in the parking lot while their guests were busy inside. (Let’s not try that one.) From politics to music fans to car lovers, stickers have long been a way for people to communicate something they are passionate about.
But why the resurgence now? Now that fanny packs are back (yes they are!), were stickers inevitable? It’s more than that. A survey by Harris Poll from 2017 found that 36 percent of millennials who use “visual expressions” such as emojis, GIFs, and stickers believe those images communicate their thoughts and feelings better than words. And sometimes, just seeing a massive pug sticker on the travel mug of the person next to you in line can make you feel a little less salty.
What we love about stickers now is that there are just so many to choose from, meaning you really can tell a little story about yourself. Maybe a sticker with dinosaurs titled “Original Vegans” does not offer a glimpse into the depth of your soul. But isn’t it kind of fun to let the other taco lovers in the room, who, like you, enjoy overthinking, surfing, and Willie Nelson, know they are not alone?
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