Etc.

Oh, you noticed!

When she needed retail space in Reigate, England, last year, Clare Ross surveyed the possibilities and leased a "completely empty" store that showed "no signs of its past at all." But that was before cold weather arrived. Now its dubious history is evident every day for all to see. And there seems to be nothing she can do about it. Clare and her mother, Shirley, are florists, who, as they put it, "are trying to sell love and romance" ... from a store that used to peddle DVDs and other merchandise of interest to fans of pornography. Residents never welcomed that business, however, and it ultimately failed. The proprietor took away the unsold stock, took down the words "Licensed Sex Shop" from the front window, and then took off. Alas, what the two florists didn't discover until winter frosted the window at night was that the glue applied to the words had bonded to the glass in the shape of each letter. Not exactly what you'd want advertising your flowers and plants, right? So Clare hired a professional cleaning service. To no avail. Scrubbing with a scouring pad or trying to dissolve it with lighter fluid also didn't work. Nor did rubbing alcohol or using sponges and squeegees. "Every day, it's back," she told reporters. "Unless I replace the glass, I'm stuck." Regularly, passersby stop to call the matter to the florists' attention. The response: "We're aware of that, yes." By now, though, Clare and her mother have learned to look at the bright side. Once the frost melts and the condensation dries from the window, the lettering becomes invisible. Besides, many of the walk-ins end up buying flowers. "So maybe we'll keep it," she said.

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