I have recently noticed an explosion in the number of people who get paid to stand on the side of a busy road and hold signs advertising for Subway, Home Depot, or some going out of business sale. How boring must that job be? Well, last weekend I randomly asked two different sign holders about the job.
Sign Holder comments in bold
My mental comments in italics
Sign Holder 1: Male, mid 30’s, scruffy looking (maybe homeless)
I get paid 7 $/hr for a 5 hour shift.
I can understand minimum wage salary but why the 5 hour shift? Maybe because A) the job is so mundane, so mind numbing that no human could make it a full 8 hours or B) it is economically feasible to only pay the sign holder during peak traffic hours.
I just hang out here and check out the girls.
What girls? You stand on the side of a 4 lane highway, cars pass by going 60 miles per hour so you can’t see the passengers, and you are in Chino Valley. It’s not like you are setup next to a Victoria Secret.
It can get boring sometimes but at least I can make some money. I can’t find any other work.
He’s right. At least the guy is trying to earn his money. It would be very tempting to beg or shoplift or rob someone’s home.
Sign Holder 2: Female, unemployed, 30’s, not homeless
No. I don’t get any bathroom breaks.
What? That’s illegal, isn’t it?
I get one 15 min break during my 5 hour shift.
Ok…So you do get a bathroom break.
I am paid 35 bucks a day under the table so it’s good.
That’s a decent deal but how does it work? You are working for a business so shouldn’t you pay taxes. It’s not like you are watching you neighbors dog for a week while they are on vacation. A zillion cars drive by you everyday. You can’t really hide from Uncle Sam.
It’s a really good job.
Huh? You don’t seem at all discouraged about your situation. Good for you.
I’m unemployed. There are a lot of fast food jobs in the valley. That’s where I’m hoping to get a more permanent job.
I am lucky to have a good job.