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Mary Williams

Sign walker, Grimmel's Fine Home Furnishings warehouse, Fallston

Age: 28

Years in business: since June

Salary: $8 an hour

Typical day: Williams is one of four sign walkers advertising Grimmel's Fine Home Furnishings warehouse sale. Once the clearance furniture is gone, the Fallston location will close and the sign-walking job will conclude. Williams works seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. She can take two 15-minute breaks and is paid at the end of each day. Her job is to hold a sign facing traffic announcing Grimmel's warehouse sale. Williams sits in the median and as the traffic light changes, she turns her sign to face oncoming traffic. She faces traffic going northeast on Belair Road and northwest on Mountain Road.

Why the store uses sign walkers: Danny Williams, manager of the warehouse sale for Grimmel's, said the use of sign walkers is an effective form of advertisement. "This is something you don't see every day. It has a totally different effect than if I were to put a sign out there in the ground. People will glance at it and go on. But if a person is standing there holding that sign, they tend to look at the sign and read it."

How she spends the time: Mary Williams started out on the job standing, but now she brings a chair. While holding the sign, Williams said she reads books, completes crossword puzzles, plays hand-held video games and enjoys spotting old cars and motorcycles. "Anything to keep from being bored." She said cyclists will also stop by and talk to her.

How she started: Williams moved to Edgewood from Florida where she worked in a job grading tomatoes. She was unemployed before this job, which she found with help from a local church. She said after the job ends she might start working for Burger King in Fallston - a frequent spot during her 15-minute breaks.

The weather: Williams works rain or shine.

The good: "It's easy, there's nothing to it."

The bad: The heat, boredom and the bugs. "The only thing that really bothers me are the weird bugs."

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