August 4, 2013

Being a Human Sign is just another job robots will do

2006
Back in 2006, I pointed out that the rapid spread from Mexico to California of "human directionals," people paid to stand on street corners and jiggle giant arrows pointing to real estate open houses exemplified the 21st Century's Cheap Labor / Expensive Land economy.

As I wrote in a 2008 short story "Unreal Estate" about a house-hunting trip to Antelope Valley:
Once off the highway, you see at least one person standing at every intersection twirling or jiggling a giant arrow pointing to an open house. “Human Signs,” nods Travis. “Like back in the Depression when guys would walk around wearing sandwich boards reading ‘Eat at Joe’s.’ But this is the opposite of a depression. Real estate commissions are six percent, so, on a $400k house, that’s $20k, which pays for a lot of twirling.”

2013
But, robots are now taking over the Human Sign profession.

From the L.A. Times:
Levy imports his battery-operated mannequins from China. They rent for $370 a month or can be purchased for $797. The plug-in electric models go for about $50 less. 
Although male mannequins are available, "the females outsell them 99 to 1," Levy said. "We have a busty model and one with a regular figure. The regular one is more popular: I personally think the busty one is overdone." 
Passing motorists find the 65-pound sign wavers convincingly realistic. 
"I was at a convention in Las Vegas last weekend, and several guys came up and tried to talk to the sign dolls," Levy said. Bar customers, he said, sometimes pose with the mechanical female sign waver parked in front of a nearby shop. 
The makers of robotic mannequins tout their creations as ideal workers who are always on time, never need a lunch break and never complain about being underpaid. 

27 comments:

Auntie Analogue said...

Clever, these Chinese.

Anonymous said...

I always thought that a lump of concrete ie burying the shaft of the sign in a heavy concrete base could do the job better than your avraege economist-beloved low wage low skill immigrant.

After all a lump of concrete doesn't get fatigued, doesn't eat drink or need to defecate or urinate and could do the job unstintingly and uncomplainingly in the hot sun or freezing cold forever basically, for zero pay - just what the economists wet their panties about with such gushing enthusiasm day in day out.

Curious to note that the creator, in his wisdom, has endowed senseless, brainless lumps of silicate rock with greater economic utility - and economic worth - than yer typical third world immigrant. 'Dream Act?' what's that all about ?

I hasten to add, in my example of concrete having greater utility and infinitely greater productivity than those the immigrationists wish to flood us with, and of whom they scream straight-faced will 'benefit' the US economy (isn't there an ifinity's worth of dead stone lying about the Grand Canyon?), an even more extreme example of absurdity can be found - I hereby state that the aforesaid concrete base has infinitely more neuron processing power and therefore intelligence than your typical immigrationist economist.

x said...

immigrants - doing the jobs that steel poles and concrete bases won't do.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see women - or better yet feminists - replaced with life-like robotic duplicates. Talk about greater economic utility and worth. More soul too.

Anonymous said...

For the most part of it, certain immigrationist university professors (they all claim to be 'economists' if you must know), sitting in fat comfy, plush seats in cushy 'liberal arts' colleges 'produce' two things in abundance (1) A Hell of a lot of malodorous 'intestinal gas' which is released into the atmosphere at regular intervals annd which, presumably, becomes part of the general atmosphere of their Ivy League wood panelled private quarters, the augustness of the situation notwithstanding, but as the hippies say 'it's only nature's way' and of course this side of existence, which effete 21st century man strives to ignore is part of global bio-chemical pathways bigger and inifitely older and wiser than himself.
(2) Blogs on the internet which invaraibly feature dumb, contrived articles and cod-situations that bend all reason, logic and basic tenets form here to doomsday trying to convince the gulllible (ie the political class) that the uncontrolled immigration of the unskilled and untalented will somehow 'make the USA richer'.

Well perhaps the august professerorial chair is best kept warm by a lump of common or garden concrete such that can be readily picked by anyone with any heft at your local downtown construction site. Yes, the concrete doesn't, at regular intervals emit butt-gas, thus saving your nostrils and the ozone layer, but more imortantly it doesn't try to claim falsehood as truth - a crime from which the inanimate are free.

Anonymous said...

politicians are human signs: I LOVE AIPAC AND GAYPAC.

Anonymous said...

"Being a Human Sign is just another job robots will do."

Like mayor of Los Angeles?

A Working Class American said...

yeah, but american-made sign-twirling mannequin-robots are too expensive. Nowadays the cheap mexican sign-twirling mannequin-robots are sneaking over the border to get these jobs.

Anonymous said...

White people. Who else?

Modern Abraham said...

Esprit de escalier and all that...

After I got married I realized this would have been a good line in the bars and clubs. When a girl you're chatting-up asks what you do you reply: "You know that tallest building in the financial sector downtown, close to city hall? I'm the sign twirler on the northwest corner!"

Paul Mendez said...

Obama was right. First came the job-killing ATMs. Then the job-killing airport ticket kiosks. Now, job-killing sign-waving robots.

The final death throes of capitalism are right there, for all to see.

Anonymous said...

Well, a great idea. We had to make automation a part of getting price supports in agricultural. Also, some new devices which are labor saving to reduce day laborers and landscapers. Juanita or Juan the robots working in Disneyland Hotel. More automation of food processing manufacturing, I heard that sophisticated 3-D printing can print Chocolate. 3-D printing gets cheaper people can produced their own goods for themselves and sell some of those products.

Anonymous said...

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/05/the_snake_that_eats_itself_egypt_turkey_military_coups_democracy

Blank State theory.

Any nation can succeed with better institutions.

That's like saying any college can be Harvard with the Harvard organizational system. I guess student quality doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/08/05/should-we-be-giddy-about-our-cities-when-so-many-are-suffering-in-them

Anonymous said...

"Any nation can succeed with better institutions."

The diverging fates of the two Koreas prove that to be true. How well do you think the US would function if it was run on Juche principles?

Institutions matter.

Anonymous said...

We have these sign-twirler douches all over the place here in Florida. Seems to be mostly white kids, and a few black kids.

I think it's because our Latinos have so much fruit to pick here - they don't have time for sign-spinning.

Kibernetika said...

First time I saw this was in SoCal (of course). Near the now-closed, world famous motocross track in Carlsbad, late nineties. Being an east coast guy, I just thought, "WTF, how cheap can local labor be to have some dude stand there and wave a stupid sign?"

http://youtu.be/qdTviR5TAHo

Now the entire country can enjoy this ;)

Maxwell Power said...

Local news ran a farm-worker-shortage bit this weekend, over by Stockton on land administered by a guy name of Yeung (pronounced "Young" by the news bimbo). He was explaining that he'll have to charge more for melons "now that the borders are closed." Then interviewed a veteran employee named Jesus in a hoodie, who reported his wage at $14/hr, and offered the interesting opinion that having to know English was probably the barrier to the labor supply. I wondered how the news channel managed to locate the single San Joaquin ag foreman with no Spanish

Anonymous said...

On an episode of now defunct HBO series Rise of the Conchords one of the New Zealand guys takes a day job holding signs in Manhattan. The sign boss instructs them by saying:

"Those who hold signs, go on to hold....many things."

Anonymous said...

"I'd like to see women - or better yet feminists - replaced with life-like robotic duplicates. Talk about greater economic utility and worth. More soul too."

And HBDers wonder why they have a reputation for being sexist.

Gloria

David Davenport said...

And HBDers wonder why they have a reputation for being sexist

What is wrong with being sexist?

Sex-ism seems reasonable to me.

Anonymous said...

"The diverging fates of the two Koreas prove that to be true."

Not to mention the diverging fate of Great Leap Forward China (mass famine) and today's China.

But ... those populations are both relatively pretty bright. Maybe good institutions AND bright people are necessary.

David said...

>"I was at a convention in Las Vegas last weekend, and several guys came up and tried to talk to the sign dolls"<

Alcohol is a hell of a drug.

David said...

>The diverging fates of the two Koreas prove that to be true.<

Any population can be squashed. The point of talk about institutions is to sell their potential to boost a population.

Plant South Korean institutions in Haiti. These institutions would neither squash nor boost Haiti.

The only thing to say about institutions is that totalitarian communism is bad, which is a truism.

FREEP said...

More proof that Americans are getting lazier!

When I was a kid, we were proud to twirl a sign for pennies. I put myself thru college with one of those jobs.

And today? The spoiled brats want their minimum wage, $8/hour! No wonder we are importing communist robots (TROJAN HORSES????)

Karl Marx has taken over the USA!

Modern Abraham said...

And HBDers wonder why they have a reputation for being sexist.

"Well, so what? What's wrong with
bein' sexy?"

"Sex-IST! IST!"

Paul Mendez said...

He was explaining that he'll have to charge more for melons "now that the borders are closed."

Fine. Let him give it a try. If the market will bear the increase, then he's OK and a little income has been redistributed from the consumer to the field laborer.

But if he can't sell his melons at the new, higher price, he was never running a farm in the first place He was running a criminal enterprise.

If your farm or business cannot survive without breaking the law, then it is not a farm or business. It is a criminal enterprise.