You think your job sucks?

Do you like to work outdoors?  Do you like to enjoy nature and its beauty?  Does your health permit you to sit in below freezing weather?  Are you prone to frostbite?

I want to know how they get people to hold a sign for hours in freezing weather.

Recently a couple of stores are going out of business around my area.  They are closing the ToysRUs in Midland and the Kmart in Saginaw.  Both places have hired people to hold signs announcing their closing and the current discounts.  As they get closer to finally selling everything they give bigger discounts.  I am very uncomfortable with the idea of someone having to hold a sign for hours in the middle of winter, but from the marketing stand point it seems that we all look at the signs just because there is someone actually holding them up.  They could just stick the signs in the ground and I am sure many people would just ignore them… but it seems that seeing another human in a precarious situation grabs our attention.

If you have never had to stand in a place for a long period of time you have no idea how difficult this can be.  During college I worked at a movie theater.  One day I was assigned to “rip tickets.”  I worked at a very busy movie theater with 24 houses (screens).  I had to stand there for over 4 hours straight without a break.  My calves were burning so bad during the last hour that just shifting my weight from leg to leg was doing nothing to alleviate the pain.  This was inside of a climate-controlled place; I cannot begin to imagine what it feels like to stand for extended periods of time holding a sign in the middle of winter.

I am sure that the people doing this are not getting paid more than minimum wage.  I also know that they are probably glad to have a job.  It still bothers me that I feel the attention we pay to the signs has a little bit of cruelty mixed into it.  Should we still patronize the businesses that make people perform this almost inhumane task?

17 comments on “You think your job sucks?

  1. I hear you. I wonder where they picked those people up for that job. They guy I like is the one that has the intersection right off US 10 by Baycom/Bennigans/… he seems very friendly and is waving to everyone.


  2. Interesting question. I don’t know…I have trouble assigning the label “inhumane” to a job that no one is forced to do, nor are they forced to do it for lower than minimum wage. Everyone has a choice, and if that’s their choice to stand in the freezing cold and hold up a sign – knowing full well the conditions before applying – then they can’t complain about “inhumane treatment”.

    I might have a problem if they were promised something else (spending half the time inside, maybe) and then told they have to spend the whole time outside or be fired. But still, it’s their choice to stay or quit.

  3. That is why I said almost inhumane. Like you I believe it is a choice… but when you are desperate you tend to really compromise on where your lines are as to what you would do or not. I feel like it is almost takind advantage of people in a bad situation. I almost want to applaud those people for earning a wage in a very difficult job instead of collecting free cheese.

  4. Hey they have the same thing here when stores go out of business. Last weekend I wondered the same thing when I saw someone outside in our 11* temps.

  5. I worked the door at our movie theatre, but having only three screens, I was able to move around once the people were in, thankfully. I know what you mean in terms of limited choices b/c not everyone has the opportunity or skills to work in a warm office.

  6. Peor para los pobres soldados de la Guardia Presidencial, que tienen que hacer turnos de 4 a 6 horas de pie en la Casa de Nariño sin mover siquiera un poco los pies (tipo soldado británico, esos de los gorros graciosos)

  7. i would stand outside holding a sign that says “i’m crazy for standing outside holding a sign” next to one of the guys that are standing outside holding a sign.

  8. I would think these people consider what they do more as a gig than and actual job. But sometimes life is tough and you gotta do what you gotta do to bring home the bread.

  9. I agree with you John, I feel that it is an inhumane task, because folks are desperate and they have very few opportunities at hand. There are a lot of people who do this in Houston, and let me tell you, every time I see them, I feel bad. Poor folks. You have every reason to feel the way you do, and I am glad you do. Too many people could care less.

  10. What’s worse: freezing cold or wearing a hot animal costume in august? It’s crazy however you look at it.

  11. Better they stand their holding a sign and getting paid for it… rather than my tax money paying for their public aid.

    Anyway, be thankful that the decisions you made in life got you where you are now, instead of out there holding a sign.

  12. hey there (again),
    stupid me! i posted my comment for this entry somewhere else…anyhow, yes, my job sucks, i don’t even know why i’m stil here. disoriented pinay in pinas…
    btw, mind deleting my other post?

  13. Those people are often temps from an agengy. They are unemployed or only have temporary or part time work with temp work on the side.

    They really need the money.

  14. Yeah I agree to a point…but go back to Office Space…if you had one million dollars what would you do? The answer to that is supposed to be your dream job. Like Mike says, it’s b.s b/c then no one would want to pick up our garbage. So there are a ton of really crappy jobs, but someone has to do it, and stop feeling sorry for these people and start applauding them for doing it.

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