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Margate Persecutes Human Sign Spinners

How big must a man's sandwich board be before the strong arm of the state comes down to crush his minimum-wage shenanigans? How long is too long for a giant arrow pointing to a mattress store where everything is always 75 percent off?

Yeah, uh, six square feet, says the Margate City Commission.

These down times have spawned a lot of makeshift solutions in Florida, such as businesses inside storage units. None, perhaps, is more iconic than the guy sweltering in a chicken suit, holding a big sign. All this makes the sub-suburban enclave Margate, which is basically just one big median swale, feel like it needs to take action.

"What we found is that a lot of these human signs are in the swales and actually hanging the sign over into the roadway creating a vehicular distraction," said City Planner Ben Ziskal, quoted on, which has done a hell of a job covering the issue.

Commissioners took the first steps last week toward passing laws that would limit the signs to six square feet and prevent the sign holders, or "human signs," as the city calls them, from standing in the swales.

The "human sign" phrasing is a little awkward, as if officials can't really make up their minds as to whether they are things or people. Thankfully, though, the commission was clear that the six-square-feet restriction doesn't include the bodily dimensions of the human element.

This spring, our sister paper Westword published a feature about Denver's sign spinners and the rise in their ranks as the economy hit hard times. Here, they've been hard to miss, even in the hottest of months. And who knows: They might actually be helpful. From

Commissioner Joe Varsallone said human signs often point consumers in the direction of good deals they may otherwise not know about. He said he was very happy with the tires he purchased recently from a store he found via a human sign. "They had a lot of good tires with good tread and a good price," he said.
Other issues such as fonts, aerial flair, and what exactly the spinners are listening to on their earbuds remain unregulated.

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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph

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