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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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11/27/2012 12:01:00 AM
Steadfast attraction: Dedicated sign holder garners attention
Scott Orr/Daily Courier
Vanessa Fawcett carries the sign for The Gold Guy six days a week, sometimes seven, and makes friends along the way.
Scott Orr/Daily Courier
Vanessa Fawcett carries the sign for The Gold Guy six days a week, sometimes seven, and makes friends along the way.
Scott Orr
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - Drive down Gurley Street on almost any day and you'll see her holding the "Cash for Gold" sign.

Vanessa Fawcett, 54, is dedicated to attracting attention. She works six days a week, and sometimes seven, waving the sign trying to bring in customers for The Gold Guy in the 700 block of East Gurley.

Fawcett isn't a sign "spinner," she said, because she doesn't want to drop the sign, and besides, "When this thing hits you in the head, it hurts."

"I came out here last year in September," she said, and, at first, worked seven hours a day, but has since cut back to four.

Being in the same spot day after day, smiling at the passing drivers, she now has what she calls "regulars."

"Everybody waves and smiles, and it just makes my day," she said. Sometimes, they stop and introduce themselves. Some have even brought her flowers.

"They're really nice, and they'll say, 'I see you every day,'" Fawcett said. "That's really cool."

They weren't quite so cool when she held the store's other sign. It reads "guns" on one side and "safes" on the other.

"I used to hold that, and you'd get people who would either flip (me) off, or stop and take a picture," she said. "There's something about a girl with a 'guns' sign."

Eventually, she and the shop's owner, Steve Todd, decided the "Cash for Gold" sign was a little less controversial.

Fawcett moved to Prescott last year, and the couple she was staying with knew Todd. "And I think they wanted me out of their house, and they said (to him), 'Will you take her so she can make some money and move out of our house?'"

Todd is happy to have her. "She's very good. She cares. She's a hard-working gal."

She comes out in all weather, from hot days - she wears sundresses during summer - to rain and snow, and said it doesn't bother her at all.

Fawcett listens to radio stations on a 1970s-vintage headset while she works, but wonders if she shouldn't have been taking advantage of the time to better herself.

"I thought, if I had the right mp3 (files), I could have learned by now all these languages," she said. "I'd be fluent."

Fawcett said the job has even brought her a little celebrity, with people recognizing her as "that sign girl" when she's not working.

"It's a mindless job, so I can do it very well," she said, with a laugh.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Not celbrities

First let me say that the people who choose to do jobs that most wouldn't do " I'm to good for that" is being done by people who need a job and aren't ashamed of the work they do.

Now as for calling these sign holders celebrities is a far stretch, these are poeple doing a job nothing more/less. There is nothing out of the oridnary for people to do their job.

Again I applaud these folks for doing these jobs, but I do not see how this is front page or really newsworthy other than they are doing jobs most would not.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: Red Dee

If it isn't one thing to complain about, it's another. You'd all be loudly complaining if she were on welfare and/or food stamps. Instead, you're complaining because this lady found a job to earn her own way. Get over yourselves, for crying out loud. This is AMERICA. We are supposed to be the land of the free. Do we really WANT more regulation, more government in our lives? We are being inched closer and closer to total dependence on government to even think for us, and all you people can do is offer negativity.

I agree that the Subway sign guy deserves as much coverage as this lady. He is out there and entertaining in his sign toting. Sign ordinances specifically address PERMANENT signage. This is not fixed, permanent signage. It moves, it changes location from day to day. I'll bet those of you who claim it's a distraction spend too much time on your cell phones while driving, and that's an even worse distraction.

Buck up and get back to the basics of our Constitution. Live and let live.

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012
Article comment by: IS IT

@ @ IS IT

Anything that can so affect public safety, like the distraction to drivers in that non-commercial area (which is what sign-waving is intended to do), most certainly justifies regulation.

Would you allow excess speeding or red-light running if it helped someone get a messenger job?

I thinketh not.

I am glad the creative lady found work, and I'm sure her creativity and willingness to do odd jobs can help her find less public-safety-impacting work. I wish her well.

Posted: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article comment by: @ IS IT

Is EVERY aspect of your life in need of control by the government? It's a job. People need jobs. There is Honor in all honest work, and no honest work is beneath anybody. Good going, Vanessa.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Kinda like medical marijuana use

Sign waving is nothing more than a creative way to circumvent the town's sign ordinances. Wonder how supportive you'd be if they were circumventing other laws...

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Victoria Kaiser

Is this a human interest story? Being down and out and finding a "mindless" job is not exactly what I thought I'd see in the paper. However, that said, unworthy "news" tends to grace these pages quite often.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: kool aid

What about the dedicated sign holder for subway by the casinos? He is there day in and day out. She stands outside for 4 hrs and is getting this much attention? Subway guy rocks his sign all freaking day long. Give that dedicated sign holder a spot in your paper.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Too Distracting

I find these waving of signs to be too distracting when driving. It was enough with the political signs, now it's advertising signs. Also seems tacky.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Reverend Rafa'elmo

This is a job obama has made available throughout the country!
I have seen many people waving advertisement signs in this poor economy to trade your family heirlooms for a bag of groceries.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Byte Me

Vanessa, thank you for being a great example of what a person can do when they choose to relie on themselves. From the article I gather you were "underprivileged" when you came to town. Rather than bitch and moan, you found a job, one that some would have turned down as "not good enough", and have earned enough to be on your own and the respect of many, many people. Thank you for being tough and resourceful, you are a great roll model.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Doug Rust

who says there are no jobs in Prescott?

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Nice Article

I know so many people who have had to take a "less prestigious" job due to the economy, and all they do is complain and whine about having the opportunity to work. Just my opinion, but any job is better than no job, and you should do your best at whatever job your lucky enough to have. It's nice to hear about someone who is actually happy to have a job and takes pride in her work, even if it is holding a sign by the side of the road. Good for this lady, I think a lot of people could learn something from her.

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: Carl Imparel

Yes, how very Prescott of her...

Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article comment by: IS IT ?

Is that sort and size of sign, which is a distraction, subject to the city's sign ordinance?

And if not, why not.

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