Now this is the kind of story we like to read. The Guardian has a great little piece on the poor souls who stand outside in all weather letting us know where exactly the nearest Golf Sale or foot long tuna sandwich is: The 'board guys' of London's west end.
In the course of a morning in the west end, the lowest-paid board guy I encounter is on a princely £3.80 (the minimum wage was recently increased to £5.05). The highest figure, thanks to an apparently munificent juice bar near Bond Street tube station, is £6.15. Most people get around a fiver, though when it comes to their pay and conditions that represents only a fraction of the story. Just about everyone I meet gets the most paltry breaks, whether they are working for an English school, an ad hoc bargain shop or a multinational fast-food chain. In one eight-hour shift, a single 30-minute lunch break seems pretty much standard; one person, employed by a famous fast-food outlet, told me he was given only 20 minutes.
The view from the office window doesn't seem that bad all of a sudden.
As proved by a trawl of London-centred blogs, several of which archly obsess over the fine details of life in the capital - pigeons, rickshaws, Routemaster buses, the man who stands near Oxford Circus imploring commuters to be a "winner not a sinner" - board guys have long been an object of backhanded fascination.
Too true. We've only ever stopped to chat to one board guy on Oxford Street and that was to discuss the merits of Mike Patton and Fantomas. Now we know a little more about them we'll try and do it a little more often.