Carryin’ signs

David Berryhill

Photo By Tom Gascoyne

We saw 17-year-old David Berryhill of Hamilton City on a blustery Saturday afternoon, standing on a corner of the intersection at East and Cohasset avenues in a Santa Claus suit holding a sign for K-mart. He’d started the job about a month ago, and on this day he’d been on the corner for about a half-hour. He still had three or four hours to go. When we offered to get him a hot chocolate from nearby Starbucks, Berryhill proved the good soldier and said he couldn’t handle a cup because he needed both hands to hold his sign properly aloft.

Is this your first job?

First paying job, yeah.

What kind of instructions do they give you?

Just come outside and just be as mighty as you can and be proud and hold the sign. They say to move [the sign] around a little bit but no too much to where [passersby] can’t read it.

Do they tell you how to dress?

Yeah. Sometimes they pick something for you, and sometimes they don’t. They let you wear whatever you want.

In this case did they pick it out for you?

Yeah, they did.

Is it up to you if you want to move to another corner?

I can move to another, corner, yeah. I just have to stay on this block. Any of these four corners.

How much are you paid?

Minimum wage.

Think this will develop into another kind of job?

No, not really.

What does it take to excel at this job of holding this sign? What kind of attributes do you need?

Not very much. Patience, and you have to be able to stand for a long time on hard pavement.

Ever get any beeps or waves or anything from the people driving by?

Yeah, people wave and honk their horns and stuff. I’ve only gotten one or two [bad gestures].

When is the season over?

I’ve only got one more week, and then I work in the store stocking shelves.

Do you think Martha Stewart’s predicament has affected the company?

Yeah, I think so, and in a good way.