Rat Windows – Jesse McLean

I picked this collection of pest-related objects and pictures, because every time I walk by it I am fooled into thinking it’s an antique or thrift store. I’d like to go inside, then I realize it’s a extermination business and I (thankfully) have no reason for browsing their merchandise. The display of this store is a nice contrast to the fancy boutiques surrounding it on North Avenue in Wicker Park. I appreciate how the front windows are still used, even though I would guess their display doesn’t increase or decrease their business. I really enjoy the variety of pest depictions combined with pest control options. Alongside their actual products and the miniature rats, mice, bugs, beehive, possum (!) stand a protective cat, owl and strange inflatable thing.

While I was there I met an exterminator who said I could take pictures of the windows. He said they had been photographed before for an independent paper. He used to manage this branch but now “he takes it easy”, although being an exterminator doesn’t seem like a relaxing profession to me. Also, he went to UIC when it was on Navy Pier. Apparently, that was a very noisy campus. He told me the company was managed by a woman, which maybe was his reasoning for the windows but definitely was his explanation for the awesome bug cars. I had forgotten about them so that was a bonus. According to him, they are roomier inside than they appear. And, there are only green ones in Chicago but there’s a red ladybug and a yellow something-or-other in different cities.


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