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STREET LEVEL

Shhh says it all

May 13, 2007|Mayrav Saar

ONE person doesn't get it. Another is offended. And then there's Jude Smith, who, upon seeing the $8 boxes of little white cards at Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard, bought two.

"I'm the one who should be handed these," the loquacious Smith said of her purchase -- hefty, business card-sized numbers each elegantly embossed with a simple request: "Stop Talking."

Since card buyer Ruth Bernstein introduced "Stop Talking" cards to Book Soup in December, they have been all anyone can, well, talk about.

The store sold out of its first order of 25 boxes in two days; it's now sold more than 450. "People come in with crazy eyes for them," Bernstein said.

Why?

Some say they're going to hand them to cellphone squawkers. Others promise to pass them out to "guys at bars."

But strangely, Bernstein has found, these requests for shush are little conversation pieces, inspiring an exchange that begins and ends at the cash register, again and again.

"Everyone wants to have a one- or two-sentence conversation about it," Bernstein said.

Even the cards' creator, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist Alison Riley, says "Stop Talking" gets people talking -- a paradoxical result she is none too pleased about.

"People love to suggest new and 'hilarious' ideas" for cards, she said, "which usually reinforces my feeling that 'Stop Talking' still has a ways to go."

-- Mayrav Saar

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