Apparently, someone has been shitting on the slide in the playground in Prospect Park in Ypsilanti. As reported in mLive a few weeks ago, “Police hunting ‘mystery pooper’ defecating on park slides.” Then, just the other day, Adams Outdoor Advertising put up some ads on its electronic billboard at the South Huron Street exit off of I-94 that are somewhere between funny and insulting about the whole thing. As mLive described it, “Billboard seeks to flush out ‘mystery pooper.’” I’ve included a sample of that billboard art here; other rotating messages on the billboard included “Do your civic doody, report the pooper,” “Help us flush the pooper,” and “Help us catch the poopetrator.”
By the way, there was some debate about the merits (or lack thereof) for this billboard way back when on this site.
Now, that initial story said it was “a mystery” who put up that billboard. But as was reported in a follow-up piece, “Officials ‘closing in on’ mystery pooper,” the billboard was put together by none other than Adams Outdoor Advertising themselves, and they see this as a “Pubic Service Announcement.” Though I don’t know if you can actually say this is a PSA since the city doesn’t want it and seems to find the whole message and hashtag about a pooper in Ypsilanti insulting. Here’s a quote from that mLive piece:
General manager Todd McWilliams said his company took the initiative to design and post the signs after an employee saw a news report about the mystery pooper and brought it up in the office.
“The goal would be that someone would call the police if they know, or to at least scare the person into stopping,” McWilliams said.
Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange said that the company did not consult with anyone from city administration before posting the billboards.
“We’re not authorizing it and we don’t need it,” Lange said.
“We have a person of interest in the case, it’s an ongoing investigation and we’re closing in on that individual.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, Adams Outdoor Advertising agreed to take down the billboard Friday afternoon, per the city’s request.
Mark Maynard has been blogging about this too, and you can probably tell his take on Adams Outdoor Advertising by the title of his post “You don’t have to be the Mystery Pooper to shit on Ypsilanti… You can be a corporation.” Here’s a quote from Maynard’s blog:
It’s been a huge hit for Adams, getting coverage on sites like Deadspin and Gawker, and I’m sure that McWilliams and his team are feeling pretty good about themselves. Unfortunately, though, we’ve still got a local deviant who’s shitting on, and possibly fucking, a play structure outside a local elementary school. And, as hilarious as some people might find the thought of children playing in the feces and ejaculate of the mentally ill, a lot of us appreciate it for the health and safety risk that it is.
I suppose we should just be thankful that they didn’t put up a “Home of the Pooper” billboard.
I don’t quite know what to think about all this. I suppose the story was inevitable, given the circumstances. Dog shit in a playground isn’t a story, even if it had been on a slide. Human shit in an undesirable/wrong place isn’t a story per se– that is, poop in an office hallway is disgusting and wrong and would need to be stopped, but it wouldn’t be news. But human shit on a playground slide? Stop the presses.
I agree with Mark in that this is actually a serious issue and it’s just another unfortunate reason for people to dump on Ypsilanti (pun intended). Still, the scatalogical humor here is kind of hard to deny or to stop, which is why there are hundreds (probably thousands) of Tweets with the hashtag #ypsipooper.
In the end, I think everyone just hopes the cops catch this person.