Spreading yinzer cheer

As you recall, my local post office had this sign taped near the mail slots:

Today, I walked into that same post office to mail a box and found this in its place:

I was aghast.

So I approached the lone employee at the mail desk and luckily for me, I was the only customer there.

Me: Hi! I need to mail this box and also, you know that sign by the mail slot? It used to say ‘gumbands’?

Donna, the USPS employee: [weary sigh] Yeah. I changed it.

Me: You did?! But why?!

Donna: Because people were giving me so much crap about it. ‘It’s not gumbands! It’s rubberbands!’ I got so sick and tired of hearing about it that I changed it.

Me: No! What’s wrong with people? This is Pittsburgh. We say gumbands! Look, I write for Pittsburgh Magazine and I featured a picture of that sign on my blog and we Burghers love it! Honestly! We support gumbands.

Donna: Well, damn it. In that case, I’m making a new sign and I’m changing it back to gumbands! Screw ’em!


So my work there is done.

Also, I mentioned to her about dropping the words “to be” and how people from most parts of the country would have put “need to be sorted.”

Pretty sure I blew her mind.

[awkward kung fu moves]

(h/t Rhonda who noticed it too!)



  1. Butcher's Dog
    December 21, 2011 1:04 pm

    Grammar? We don’t need no stinking grammar! And all yinz out-a-towners who complained about the gumbands, just go back where yinz came from ‘n ‘at.
    Note to Ginny: Never travel without your camera phone. And have a great Christmas.

  2. pgh131
    December 21, 2011 2:01 pm

    Gumband is my favorite Pittsburghese word!

  3. Ginny's Dad
    December 21, 2011 2:49 pm

    “Gumband” is part of our unique culture. Thanks for taking a stand and give USPS Donna a hug for seeing the light.

  4. jmarinara
    December 21, 2011 2:52 pm

    “Also, I mentioned to her about dropping the words “to be” and how people from most parts of the country would have put “need to be sorted.””

    No, its not people “from most parts of the country”, its people who write and speak the language properly.

    Gumbands is still cool.

    By the way, why hasn’t Gumbands been mentioned as a “cool band name” yet?

  5. ErinPatricia
    December 21, 2011 3:21 pm

    When I lived in Jersey my boyfriend would get so exasperated with me that I dropped the words “to be” off of my sentences. He clearly wasn’t meant for me lol

  6. bluzdude
    December 21, 2011 3:21 pm

    I agree that the sign needed (to be) replaced, but not because of the gumbands. The corners were curling and it was starting to look junky and less authoritative.

    But I love it whenever someone can get a government employee to say “Screw’em.”

  7. ramzl
    December 21, 2011 3:55 pm

    Hahaha!! Rill Pixburghers say “gumbans” (no “d” pranahnced).

    Gumbans is right up there with “bogart”– one of the Pittsburghese words that never gets mentioned. Use: “I hope the postal worker didn’t bogart all the tape.”

    Lastly, another Pgh thing we do is use the phrase “off of” instead of the word “from” which the above poster who lived in NJ did. I LOVE it.

  8. Magus Patris
    December 21, 2011 3:56 pm

    If Hamlet was from Pittsburgh, his soliloquy would be,
    “Or not –that is the question:
    Whether yinz is nobler in the mind to suffer
    The gumbands and arrahs of outrageous fortune
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them, n’at.”

  9. MN
    December 21, 2011 6:05 pm

    “Gumbands” is one of those Pittsburghese words that totally creeps me out! Leaving off the “to be” DRIVES ME CRAZY too! I don’t live in Pittsburgh any more and I hear it in other parts of the country too….we definitely need the old-fashioned kind of English teachers back in our schools…the ones who drill proper grammar into you!

  10. Craig
    December 21, 2011 6:17 pm

    You saved us from the homogenization fixation. Thank you.

  11. Linda
    December 21, 2011 6:35 pm

    Yet no one complained about the missing “to be”?

    Mail does not need to be sorted…

  12. unsatisfied
    December 21, 2011 9:33 pm

    good thing that donna didn’t go all postal on you.

  13. Butcher's Dog
    December 22, 2011 11:34 am

    @bluzdude: Government employees say “screw em” all the time. See: Congress, current for multiple examples.

    @MN: I did my best to drill the grammar for 37 years. Even made people diagram sentences. Was thoroughly mocked one in-service day when a “modern” presentation on teaching was made. Just another reason to be thankful we can’t be packing heat all the time, or there’d be two fewer modern presenters. Just sayin’.

    @Magnus Patris: Sweet! You win this round, in my opinion.

  14. bucdaddy
    December 22, 2011 12:32 pm


    It’s a long and terribly boring story, and only about three people in the world would get it anyway, but: Gums’ Band is taken.

  15. Dan
    December 22, 2011 10:05 pm

    honestly … to be is completely unnecessary in a modern and polite society … N’at