Most Boring Job

April 13, 2009 at 7:19 am 22 comments

Sign HoldingNot all jobs can be as exciting as mine. I know that. And not all parts of all jobs are fun; that’s why they call it work. And, not everyone gets to do meaningful work.  But when your entire job can be replaced by one sturdy nail, that’s pretty sad.

So, because nobody else will, I salute the sign holder.

But I just need to ask WHY.  Seriously, what’s with the person-held signage at street corners?! During the last year, they’ve started sprouting up like dandelions.

Why? Is it illegal to nail a sign that big to the telephone pole, but it’s not illegal to have a person hold such a sign? Or are we consumers so pathetic that we can be distracted by the movement and so manipulated by advertisers that we really believe there will be more than one item that actually rings up at 70% off the original retail price?

What kind of instructions do the sign-holders get before they start their shift, besides being told which corner to stand on. Are they allowed to sit? Can they lean? Must the sign move CONSTANTLY? Back and forth? Up and down? What about bathroom breaks — what do they do with the sign?!

Do you know? Tell me.

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Entry filed under: Miscellaneous Musings.

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22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HelenMarie  |  April 13, 2009 at 10:03 am

    And what about the people who are hired to wear Santa suits or clown suits or dinosaur outfits or whatever….lately they seem to be trying to get me to buy insurance!

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  • 2. Mrs. Goodneedle  |  April 13, 2009 at 10:05 am

    And then there are the people who don the statue of liberty costumes and stand on the side of the busy highways here waving and beckoning motorists to stop at Liberty Tax Service to have their taxes prepared! Seriously… would that entice you to go there for tax preparation?????? Dunno…

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  • 3. quiltdivajulie  |  April 13, 2009 at 10:24 am

    In our area, the sign holders are everywhere – World Market, Circuit City, S&W Warehouse (men’s clothing), Linens & Things . . . the sign holders are a means to avoid sign ordinances (at least that’s what our newspaper offered).

    Boring job for sure – along with corner Sunday newspaper sales people.

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  • 4. Marge Fine  |  April 13, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I always feel sorry for those sign holders….but at least they’re working – altho’ for minimum wage. What a boring job! Marge

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  • 5. Nancy  |  April 13, 2009 at 11:21 am

    The economy has caused more store closings, and local ordinances do not allow permanent posting of signs near the road. That’s why we have seen so many of these folks lately. At least they’re working.

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  • 6. Connie  |  April 13, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I am sorry can’t answer any of your questions because I have many of the same questions myself.

    I live in AZ and this “sign holding business” started about a year or 2 ago. Now in AZ, things get very very hot around mid year, and the sign people actually set up little tents above themselves while they sway the sale signs. I give the sign holders credit for taking this job, but it has to be a daunting task. I have to admit it does catch the eye.

    Maybe somebody on the list works in retail and can explain this to us.

    Do you have the “Banner People” in MI. We have groups that stand in front of buildings with banners that have writing on them. They are long sheets with probably 4 or 5 people holding on to the cloth at different intervals. They are usually shaming somebody. I can’t figure that out either.

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  • 7. Debbie  |  April 13, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Yes what an awful job, but these days every bit of pay helps, might be me out there holding a sign since husband had to take 10% paycut.
    Worse to me are the fund raisers that approach you in front of stores or at street corners. How do we know if they are legit?

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  • 8. Dee  |  April 13, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    It’s illegal to nail anything to telephonr poles. Its a hazard to the linemen who have to climb them. So, maybe this is the only way to get the messages to passersby. Maybe the next spiral down is selling pencils or apples as they did in the Great Depression.

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  • 9. Christine Thresh  |  April 13, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I do wonder about the bathroom breaks. I worry about them every time I see a sign holder.

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  • 10. Myrna sossner  |  April 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    “Maybe the next spiral down is selling pencils or apples as they did in the Great Depression”
    This was my OMG! reaction when I first saw these sign holders. I cannot imagine signing up for the sign holders and statue of liberty stand-in jobs. But it must be better than any other alternatives available. And just think … (cynically)…they are paying taxes on these earnings. Myrna

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  • 11. myrna sossner  |  April 13, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Another thought … has anyone stopped to talk to the sign wavers or offered to bring a cold drink?

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  • 12. Nancy  |  April 13, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Just this morning there was a segment on the local news about a pizza shop whose business has plumeted because their city banned the sign people. So they sent someone out anyway and they got nine more customers because of the sign that day. Interesting!

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  • 13. Ruthie  |  April 13, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Our sign holders in town are regulars at the homeless shelters making a few bucks and every once in a while I will see someone stop and give them a coffee or softdrink from McD.

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  • 14. Carol Brown  |  April 14, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I also feel sorry for the sign holders and the signs do not intice me to buy anything. I did take food and a cold drink to a sign holder last summer and he was so appreciative.

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  • 15. CeeCee  |  April 14, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    We were in New York and were waiting on a light to change….when we noticed one of the Statue of Liberty women on her cell phone….it was a really cold day and apparently that costume wasn’t very warm. She was telling someone in no uncertain terms, and in language not very suitable for a Lady Liberty that they had better get there quickly, or else. We were laughing so hard that we couldn’t cross the street, so we stood back to watch the scenario unfold…no one came to relieve her, so in a few minutes, she threw her sign down and stomped away!

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  • 16. Linda  |  April 14, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    I say we salute the sign holders. Let’s smile and wave, and if we;re at a stop light and they are there, let’s tell them they are doing a good job!
    Hey! What do I know? Here in my little neck of the woods in Milford, PA, we don’t have sign holders…this is all new to me!
    Linda
    http://www.lmpoole.blogspot.com

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  • 17. OHSue  |  April 15, 2009 at 2:25 am

    We have lady liberty at tax time, and as my son noted the other day, she is always a man. The local oil change place also puts out a costumed guy, one was really dancing up a storm the other day. Just tonight my son and I were discussing what a horrible job this must be and how desperate you must be for work to be doing this job.
    I refuse to give to the folks collecting for charity at stop lights, even if I like the chairty. I don’t want to support this dangerous habit.

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  • 18. sammi  |  April 15, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I have a friend who avers “it could be worse. I could be putting the strings in tampons!”

    As for the banners …. those are sponsored by Unions who are ticked off about someone or something who/that won’t bend to their wishes.

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  • 19. Katie  |  April 16, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Have you seen the folks dancing on the corners in Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam costumes for the Liberty income tax people? Now that’s a sight.

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  • 20. Mona  |  April 17, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Around these parts there are city elected folks who think the computerized animated neon signs at street corners might be a distraction to drivers………I think I’d prefer seeing that to one of the jumping mattresses we have around here.

    I can appreciate the need for lower cost advertising and the fact that it gives someone a paying job (I give them credit for taking that job). Heck, this ad actually gets seen and read .. but maybe they should stick to areas in front of the businesses instead of a couple of blocks away!

    Better than panhandling I guess.

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  • 21. myrna  |  April 17, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    According to an article in our local newspaper (west palm beach, fl) the Liberty sign wavers are being paid $7.25/hour plus a bonus of $3.75/hr. if they stay through tax season without quitting of getting fired. As an extra perc, their tax returns are prepared for free, too.
    Tax season is over — what’s next?

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  • 22. Kelly Esbenshade  |  May 2, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Where we live these people are unemployed and seeking work. The stores give them these jobs to help them out until they can find other work. I give them a lot of credit, although it must be terribly boring they are not sitting at home waiting for a handout.

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