Wednesday, September 03, 2014

2301 Shakebot

Recently I was driving along the road and noticed a sign shaker. They're officially called "human directionals." He was jumping around and boogieing down. Totally animated and into his low-paying job, listening to his iPod and into the moment. There was another sign shaker on the opposite corner doing essentially the same thing. Animated, waving his sign, the whole nine yards. Except his sign was regular cardboard and said, "Will work for beer."

Ah, street corner life in America.

But I saw another version of the same thing on another corner and it scared me. Similar scenario, a sign shaker moving a sign. Except this one seemed listless and lackadaisical. As if she wasn't focused on her job at all, just going through the motions. And minimum motions at that, just moving her sign in a small circle while the rest of her stood pretty much stock still. 

She was attractive though. Blond, apparently in her early 20s, athletic figure dressed in a sports outfit. Like she just came from the fitness club. But still, just going through the motions. Then I realized what was wrong. She wasn't a human directional. Because she wasn't even human. She was a manikin. Or perhaps womanikin in this case. 

Yep, an animated manikin, an automated sign shaker. Like a noodle man without the noodle. Or a 3-D gif. The final lowest-paying, thankless, non-skilled job in America, replaced by a robot. And not a very good robot at that. Just a department store manikin with rotating arms. 

How sad. And how distressing for the sign ordinance folks. If sign shakers are legal, are they legal by virtue of their motion or their humanity? 

Even more alarming, will we soon see a sign being shaken by a robo-hobo?

America, ya gotta love it. 

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