On public television some time ago was a series on slum life in London in the 1800s. It depicted how inhabitants survived during economic expansions and downturns. In those times, jobs of sign-holding and sandwich board-wearing were considered among the lowest and the worst employment.

Recently in the Twin Ports, sign-holders were hired to herald the closing of Younkers, Sears, and now Shopko. Let's not forget the sign-holders on Tower Avenue during wintry weather when the Superior Kmart was closing and on Grand Avenue when the Spirit Valley Kmart was closing.

Working outdoors all day with no shelter is hard. Air temperatures in our area can change suddenly and winds can arise without warning. It is hard to come prepared when your job is holding and waving store-closing signs. Some stations for these workers have no shade for those hot, sunny days. There sometimes are no barriers to break the wind and block precipitation. A sign-holder needs to bring a cooler with drinks to stay hydrated (like construction workers do) since there often is no plumbing.

At the end of the work day, I imagine those holding tall, sail-like signs are spent after being blasted with hot and cold temperatures and buffeted by winds. I salute them for aiding stores when they were finding it necessary to sell out to the bare walls and shut down.

Sign-holders help point the way for bargain shoppers.

Anne R. Velasco