A Thousand Years and We’re Still Doing It

Back in the dark ages and possibly before, there has been class struggle. And the ones with the most money have the least care for the ones with the least money. And over time, as we socially evolved, our least-wealthy have experienced a growth in standards.

Back in those olden days, it was common to use your money and/or power to make the desperate do things they normally wouldn’t do. They could do it for their own amusement, or they could simply exploit them for gain, possibly through a sideshow event.  People would be attracted to these exhibitions.

So centuries go by, people get more refined, society as a whole gets better.  You’d think we’d be beyond this whole exploitation thing.

Then you see it in action in the current age.  What am I referring to?  Sign holders.  Those people who stand by the side of a road and hold a sign, usually for a “going out of business” sale, but could be for most anything, even construction workers.  I’m not referring to sign “flippers” who would be demonstrating talent – they would be more marketing or salesman types.  I‘m talking about the sad people who you know wouldn’t choose to be doing such a boring, mindless job.

And although it sounds damning against the businesses who resort to this tactic, hiring temporary employees at a minimal wage to simply stand there and do nothing but hold a sign, it’s more of a revelation to know that it really does work.  We do look at those people and those signs.  If the sign was not there, it could easily be ignored, but because there’s a person there, we check.  is it a safety thing, making sure they don’t run out in front of our car?  Is it just curiosity, “What’s that person doing?” Or is it something else like pity or sympathy?

Think about that marketing concept for a while.  A sign alone does nothing; a person standing next to a sign gives results.  The person doesn’t have to do anything, just be there.  You are paying a person to exist.  As a business decision, it is cheaper to hire people to do nothing than to spend on more/better advertising.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that some people don’t see people as being that valuable.

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