Traverse City Gas Station Faces Firestorm Over 'Rapey' Sign About Uses For Duct Tape

Store personnel responded to the social media firestorm by explaining what they meant

June 25, 2019 - 5:18 pm

(WWJ) A post making the rounds on Facebook condemns a sign outside a Traverse City hardware store that urges people to buy duct tape because it turns a 'no' into a 'mm-mm.'

Many believed it was a rape joke from the store that describes itself as "offering hardware, convenience, beer, chainsaws, steaks and more since 1958."

Social media wasn't having it. Maryscott O'Connor was among those who posted a picture on Facebook, saying the venerable country store had lost her family's business.

"Mmmmm. That’s a pretty rape-y comment," Judith Barahal agreed.

Others said it was in poor taste while one went so far as to reference violence, saying on the post, "I would be sore tempted to turn that gas station into a big Molotov cocktail." Someone else said the store's owner should be duct taped and put in the basement scene of Pulp Fiction.

Then the other shoe dropped.

Store personnel responded to the social media firestorm by explaining what they meant -- and it wasn't the glorificaton of rape.

They say they meant 'no, no' and 'mm-mm' as metaphorical responses -- as in 'duct tape can fix anything' -- And not literally what happens when duct tape covers someone's mouth. 

The sign was removed within 30 minutes after it was posted because people reacted so strongly to it, staff said.

They promised to run future signs through a "dirty minds" filter, and said they hadn't put up the sign thinking about people with "sex on the brain."

Was all forgiven? The store's explanation on Facebook has 244 comments as of Tuesday afternoon, and most were in their favor.  

"I didn't 'get' the joke, but never equated it to endorsing duct tape for rape. Thank you for acknowledging the unintended double meaning and being understanding about the issue. I find your signs funny, and thought provoking. Please continue to give us the chuckles we've all come to expect from the sign," Kathleen Hayes wrote.