Sign-spinning isn’t a prestigious or particularly interesting job, but you do get to people-watch and earn an honest living. And standing on a street corner twirling a sign to get people’s attention is the kind of real-life job that can’t ever be outsourced or done by some kind of machine. Right? Nope. Meet the sign-twirling mannequin industry.
A sign-twirler’s job is to get the attention of passers-by, after all, and a beautiful six-foot-tall woman certainly does that. Even if she’s made of plastic. There’s a mechanism that performs the all-important twirling part of the sign-spinner’s job.
Of course, there are deep flaws in this idea. The entire reason sign-spinning as a job exists is to put great big advertisements in spots where it’s not legal to put a giant billboard, but okay for a person to stand and maybe pace a little bit while holding an equally large sign. The promotional video for one sign mannequin company (embedded above) mostly shows the mannequins stationed right outside businesses for a reason.
There are things that a human sign-spinner can do that a stationary mannequin never can. For example, put on a raincoat, or take itself to work.
“What if a car comes at the mannequin? It won’t move. If it rains, the mannequin will break,” a man hard at work holding a “Cash 4 Gold” sign pointed out to NPR.
Many of these problems will be resolved when sign-spinning inevitably gets taken over by robots. No, we’re not kidding: someday it will happen.