Thursday, February 19, 2009

The World of Sign Holders

Recently while driving around town I was reminded that it's tax season. I came to this realization after seeing people dressed up like the statue of liberty or Uncle Sam holding signs to entice you to let their company prepare your taxes. Let me first preface my comments by saying that I respect anyone who is willing to work especially those who are willing to do demeaning jobs to support themselves and their families but I wonder how some of their employers can sleep at night when they make their employees dress up in embarrassing costumes and dance around while they hold their signs. My heart was overflowing with empathy recently when I saw a grown man (with a full beard) wearing a green dress and styrofoam hat and torch dressed up as Lady Liberty as he held his sign. I didn't have the heart to take his picture but I found a similar one on google.

Sometimes I see homeless guys holding signs for grand openings or going out of business sales at busy intersections. Again, I'm not judging. They could be panhandling so I appreciate that they are doing something to earn money. I think the people who get to wear the giant cell phone costume are lucky because they don't have to show their faces. I feel really bad for a regular sign holder I frequently drive by. She is an older lady and she doesn't just hold her Little Caesars Hot-N-Ready sign, she dances around like she's "sweatin to the oldies" the whole time. This lady burns some serious calories while she does this and it has made me wonder how she has the energy to do this at her age. She dances with so much enthusiasm that she must either really love dancing in front of people or she's forced to wear some kind of device that will shock her if she stops moving.

I have a friend who told me a great story related to this topic. He was driving through town one day and came across a car for sale parked on the side of the road. It had a phone number to call in the back window. He also noticed a sign on the sign of the car that said "Investor seeking apprentice-Make over $5,000 a month part time." He noticed it was the same phone number so he was a little reluctant to call but he wanted to know how much he was asking for the car, so he kept driving as he dialed the number. About a block down the street he notices a guy on the street corner shaking a Little Caesars Pizza sign dancing around. After several rings the sign holder stops dancing and reaches into his pocket and pulls out a phone. My friend thought it was a coincidence at first, but he pulled over and watched the guy from a distance while they had a conversation about the car. He said as soon as he hung up so did the sign shaker/investor. Two conclusions could be drawn from this story. 1) This guy was a poser and had no business credibility and was not quite as successful as his sign on his car claimed he was or 2) Little Caesars pays you $5,000 for part time work to hold their signs.

So if anyone reading this is an employer who uses these marketing strategies I understand you need to advertise your business, but try not to make it such a demeaning experience for your employees....unless they are teenagers. If that's the case feel free to humiliate them.


Kristina P. said...

Amen! I am all about the humiliation of teenagers. I do it daily at my job.

Can you imagine if gynecologists advertised this way? Oh the costumes I could dream up.

Dr Zibbs said...

I took a photo of these people recently and have been meaning to post about it.

Also, I'm giving you a shout out on my Friday Song shout out.

You're welcome.

Kelly said...

Great post! My husband sells signs, so I know why they do it - they don't have to get a permit and permits are a big pain, especially if it's a big city.

HOWEVER, do they need to look like jerks? So with you on that... I feel really bad for them here, it's cold in MPLS!

Morgan the Muse said...

Well, I live in an area happily devoid of sing holders. So I have no worries about seeing people dancing around.

Jeanne Estridge said...

If I had to do that (and if the clinic doesn't get some money in the door soon, it could be in my future) I'd want one where I got to wear a head-to-foot costume.

The Mauermans said...

I was wondering what happened to Kenny Rogers since the "K.R. Roasters" restaurant went under-thank you for including him in your post, it's good to see he has work in this tough economy. But seriously anyone looking for employment and fantastic $ (I'm talking like 200K+ per month) I am seeking an apprentice. It only involves minor humiliation in public. Call me 1-800-URS-TUPD

Anna Lefler said...

I'm so glad I put down my giant arrow sign long enough to read your post. I had no idea how successful I was, but now I'm stoked because tomorrow's payday! Woot!

:^) Anna

Beckalita said...

I guess the point is that these employees find people WILLING to do this job. That either means they are helping out desperate people, or they pay more than we think. Luckily, my husband doesn't have that kind of job...and neither do my teenagers.