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Readers react to the new T t-shirts

Posted by Rob Anderson  March 7, 2011 01:16 PM

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Park Street Collage SAMPLE globe539.jpgThe good news for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is that there seems to be a lot of interest in the new merchandise the agency plans on selling online starting in June. Last week, Globe columnist Brian McGrory wrote a column about the idea, and although he poked fun at the MBTA a bit, he still thought that the overall plan was a sound one. The Globe's editorial board jumped into the conversation today and endorsed the initiative as well, arguing that if "selling T-themed t-shirts will help the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority make up for some of its projected $130 million deficit, launching an online merchandise store later this year can’t hurt."

But the editorial board included one qualification:

[I]f the agency keeps taking itself too seriously, the sales won’t end up helping very much. Early prototypes of the merchandise released by WardMaps, the company the MBTA has hired to create and sell the items, include t-shirts emblazoned with well-designed collages and mugs featuring the T map. While these earnest designs may appeal to the occasional tourist and subway buff, they don’t reflect the city’s love-hate relationship with the T.

The board's concerns reflect many of the comments left on this Angle post last week, which included the first published images of the new T-related merchandise.

Commenter Mich4igan made this recomendation to the MBTA:

Lose the pride, sell out as the butt of the joke and sell some T-Shirts people might actually buy.

guciboy77 wrote:

I like the idea of mocking itself, at least they acknowledge that it's not a smooth running machine and we should learn to love it.

And dchamber argued:

The self-deprecating T-shirts would sell a lot more and raise a lot more revenue among the people most angry at the T (including myself).

In terms of proposed slogan ideas, TwoCentDonation thinks the MBTA should copy “Mind the Gap” merchandise — which plays off of the warning given to London Underground passengers because of a design flaw in the Tube — and sell t-shirts that say, "Mind the signal problem." And like the editorial board, which recommended selling a T t-shirt that says "Better late than never," commenter Cuse7 suggests a shirt emblazoned with: "The T, we'll get you there, eventually."

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ABOUT THE ANGLE Online commentary and news analysis from the Boston Globe. The Angle is produced by Rob Anderson and Alan Wirzbicki. You can follow Rob on Twitter at @rcand.

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