Monday, 27 May 2002
For the man
that does not fit
into a box!
This cry is directed at me. The caller walks towards me with a pile of brochures in his hand.

Hmm, why me? Do I look like someone that does not fit into a box? Yes, indeed, his description fits me, at least until I realise it is a contradiction in terms.

  • His slogan is in Dutch, obviously not targeted at the many tourists here in Gouda.
  • "For" is a limitation, it seems the leeflets are not meant for opponents of the out-of-a-box-thinkers.
  • Man promptly excludes 50% of the rest.
  • The box's boundaries are completed by that does not fit into a box.
What am I to do?
  1. Ignore his slogan, suggesting that I do fit into a box?
  2. Accept the folder and step into his target group box?
What would have been a good paradox-free slogan?
Against the man that does not fit into a box?
It nicely avoids the paradox, but targets exactly the opposite of the desired target group.
Against the man that does fit into a box?
No, opponents of your opponents are not necessarily on your side.
For the man that fits in two boxes?
No, the more boxes the smaller the space.
For everybody?
Well, that does away with all boxes, but it is too wide a definition.
It takes me several minutes to find the ultimate slogan:

For the man
that does not want
to fit into a box!

Well solved, if I may say so myself. The paradox is not there anymore: Not wanting to fit into a box does not go with fitting into a box, but does not exclude it either.

At the end of this train of thought I have long since passed the brochure distributor. Shall I return to delight him with the improved slogan? No, why should I? I enjoyed the puzzle he gave me. He may amuse more people with his current slogan. Let there be hope!

Till next week,