Robotic sign spinners hit Fresno area streets

January 28, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
We've all seen those sign spinners on major streets like Blackstone in Fresno and all across the state showing off sales or discounts. But as Action News reporter Amanda Venegas explains, there's a new kid on the block that's turning heads with an unbeatable work ethic.

From far away, this sign spinner looks hard at work trying to sell pizza for Little Caesar's in Sanger. But if you take a closer look, you'll notice something unusual, it's not a person but a robot. And it seems to be catching others off guard too.

"I thought it was real the first time, but after seeing it closer, it was fake," Yair Martinez said. "So it was cool you know."

Every day, employees just wheel the sign spinner out and turn his battery on. Little Caesar's pizza chain in Fresno and Sanger made the move to a robotic advertiser in order to be more efficient.

So far Little Caesar's says the robotic sign spinner is an ideal employee. He works seven days a week and doesn't ask for a lunch break, something many of us couldn't do."

For humans who make their living spinning. Well they have some strong opinions.

Princess has been showing off her signs for more than four years. We showed her the new wave of robotic mannequins.

"Well they have no class they don't have the body movements that a regular person has," said Princess.

Others who have been twisting and turning signs for years say they can sell their products better than a robot.

Rita Duarte explained, "The robot is just going to stand there and do the same thing and a real person can do different things, there is a difference."

But they say what makes them truly stand out is their personalities and the people driving by can clearly see it.

"Some of the world of Fresno loves me out here," said Princess. "If they don't see Princess out on the corner they might complain."

For now, Princess and her fellow sign spinners plan to just keep spinning in style.

The robot costs about a thousand dollars a month to rent which businesses say costs significantly less than it would cost to pay someone full time.


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