Life as a walking sandwich board

Just when I thought that there hadn't been any really interesting work-related stories in the news up pops a curious article entitled The 'board guys' of London's west end by John Harris of The Guardian. The article itself tells the tales of scores of people - mostly male, and seemingly all from overseas - who stand sentry around the west end of London, directing shoppers into the capital's less famous thoroughfares.

Apparently, 'board guys' have multiplied in recent years. The main reason cited was a failed court injunction to have them barred from the city's main shopping streets. Technicalities aside, what I like most about the article is how someone felt the urge to find out more about people who are poorly paid, stand around for hours on end not doing much, but most of all adorn an enormous sign trying to get people to buy stuff. One particular quote from a board guy tells alot about a life that is arguably the epitomy of the capitalist world we live in. When asked about why he works as a board guy he replies:

"I have no plan," he shrugs. "I'm just living day by day. I'm an uneducated man; I have no skills, no qualifications. That's why I am doing this. London is expensive, but in Poland, if I stay there, I have no opportunities at all."

To be honest I find it intriguing to know more about the working lives of people who are employed in highly degraded jobs. The article is certainly worth a read if this interests you too.


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