Robots might be bringing jobs back to humankind, but now we face a new automated menace: mechanized mannequins replacing “sign spinners,” the folks who stand outside of banks and restaurants and cash-for-gold joints, bearing signs and hawking wares.
(Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker/Flickr)
According to NPR, sign-spinning mannequin companies are springing up all over the U.S., from Oregon to Florida.
“That’s one way for you to save labor because they use a mannequin now, so that’s one lost job,” Virgil Ribancos tells NPR. Ribancos was “warily eyeing” an automated sign spinner outside a convenience store in LA when NPR interviewed him.
There’s another problem for store owners who consider replacing human spinners with mecha: it might not be legal.
“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,” writes Laura Northrup at Consumerist.
And then there’s the fact that they’re just plain disconcerting, as if Will Smith’s mannequin buddies in I Am Legend got together and tried to make a little extra cash.
To take a trip into Uncanny Valley, check out the promotional video from one mannequin company, below:
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