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Mannequins Are Taking Jobs From Human Sign Spinners

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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.

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.

mannequins 

(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.

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“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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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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