Signs Of The Times

and-another-thingDespite the advancement of technology and its direct impact on today’s communications utilizing social media for marketing there are still things that have me scratching my head? I sometimes wonder if I’m living in 2016 or have I traveled back in time.

This past weekend it felt I had stopped at a red light at every intersection. Now I live in community where it seems traffic is required to halt at every corner, so if you come across a “green light” it feels like one has comes up with cherries on a slot machine – it’s not a jackpot, nevertheless you feel positive and hope you’re on a run. As I waited for the light to change, I found myself entertained by a young person spinning a promotional sign. He wasn’t just holding a sign to draw attention to a real estate company, he was actually entertaining traffic. I was so impressed by his performance I caught myself forgetting to move forward when the light turned green. This guy was so talented flipping his sign that fifty years ago he may have featured between Robert Goulet and Topo Gigio acts on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Anyway to cut to the chase, I came across not one, not two, but 14 different sign-spinners on a Saturday afternoon. After counting the first three, I noticed it started becoming a thing for me to do as I passed the time in traffic. It reminded me of the game I played as a boy during a long road trip with the family; counting Volkswagen vehicles “Beetle” “Super Beetle” “Double Beetle” hearing us kids yelling out these words of discovery would annoy the heck out of the adults in the car or station wagon remember those?

Back to the sign-spinners, talk about diversity I noticed men, women, people representing all cultures, young and not-young promoting everything from real estate, car dealerships, furniture stores, sub shops, sales, thrift stores and taquerias.  Out of curiosity, I later searched on Craigslist (yes, I was really bored) and found 3 job listings for sign-holders (that’s how the positions were listed) offering $15-18 an hour – I wonder if they are unionized?

I’ve watched old movies – I just now realized I must define old since the Godfather and Jaws are over forty years old; I mean really old films starring the likes of the Marx Brothers, Clark Gable, James Cagney with people in city backgrounds walking around with signs hanging from the front and backsides, the most popular being “Eat at Joe’s.” So here we are 60-75 years later, and we evolved from sign walkers to sign spinners – makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Crazy times! It’s 2016 and the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians are playing in the World Series. I suppose that despite all the new technology and gadgets there’s always room for nostalgia. Now, I wonder when double-breasted suits and bell-bottom pants will make a comeback or should I say we travel Back to the Future.


Al "Skip" Solorzano
SKIP is a recognized expert in the field of diversity with keen ability to build strategic alliances, and successfully expand supplier diversity initiatives. He has consulted with multiple client sectors including pharmaceutical, insurance, manufacturing, health care, telecommunications, utilities nonprofit organizations, business entities and employee groups. As a facilitator and learning consultant presents unique perspectives to develop solutions; and promote qualities to successfully work with others through diversity, team-building and leadership development. Solorzano has been featured as a presenter at conferences sponsored by such entities as: AT&T, The United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Social Security Administration. A former Governor appointee and member of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials; Solorzano has been recognized by United Way as Most Influential Hispanics of the Bay Area; and a recipient of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Corporate Advocate of the Year award. Skip’s career endeavors as a corporate liaison, community leader and entrepreneur, provides the unique insight to write on an array of subject matter from learning processes; diversity; with a shared humorous perspective of life.

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