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A Bumper Sticker is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a small paper or vinyl rectangle generally attached by an adhesive to the bumper of an automobile, pickup truck, camper or other privately owned vehicle. Sometimes people put them in the rear window, and sometimes they'll have so many on their vehicle that basically it looks like a Nascar racing car with the usual edge-to-edge covering of ads.
There are many kinds of bumper stickers, these include:
- Advertising, such as ones distributed by a restaurant chain
- Tourist reminders, so that if you visited some touristy place or Tourist Trap, you bought one so you could say you were there
- School advertisements, "I am the parent of a child at Bart Simpson Elementary School," or "My son/daughter is an honor student at Springfield School for the Hopelessly Retarded"
- Sports Team Supporters
- Political Ads, such as ones that carry the candidate's name, and if the President of the United States, his (or her) running mate.
- Message ads, "If you lost your job, eat your foreign car," and others
- Religious reminders, such as mentioning John 3:16 or the entire text, or referencing some different religious work such as the Koran.
- Humor, "Caution: Driver carries only $20 in ammunition", "If you can read this you're following too close"
- Just about anything else someone can think of.
Better (and slightly more expensive) commercially made stickers will be printed on vinyl. Cheaper ones are just printed on paper. Which means sometimes you see cars with lots of old bumper stickers, most peeling, or sometimes you see one sticker over all or part of an older one, and possibly on top of a third, a fourth, a fifth...
This peeling effect can be used by the issuer when using them for advertisements. The In-N-Out burger chain of Southern California was known for years for offering $100 if you put their sticker on your car's bumper and a particular radio station announced your license number. But they would warn people to watch out for the "Dreaded In-N-Out Bumper Sticker Stripper" (which is basically the car's owner themselves) because the bumper stickers are in the form
And what some people do is cut off the "B" and the "R" in "Burger" to get
In which case, you don't get the hundred bucks. But you do get known by your neighbors as a pervert.
With a color printer and paper with an adhesive on one side, now anyone can create their own bumper stickers. Many are also magentic now to preserve the full value of a car because stickers do a number to the paint below.