Me and Chairman Mao
When you have a country of 1.3 billion or so, there are a lot of people who need jobs. The problem, of course, is that there just are not a lot of jobs to be had. Or at least, not a lot of good jobs. This isn't a new revelation for me, since everywhere you look around here, you see people engaged in some sort of useless and/OR pointless employment--guys who seem to spend their days planting and replanting the trees on the street outside our apartment, I'm looking at you--but the fact was brought home yet again last weekend when I went to eat brunch at Xintiandi and saw this ... person:

Nice outfit, don't you think? The first time I walked by, I didn't even notice that it was a person: I thought it was just some sort of billboard because the front of the red "hat"--I use that word loosely here, obviously--didn't appear to have a way to look out. (You're looking at the back of the person here--you can tell by the feet--but trust me when I say he/she looked exactly the same from the front.)

As for what they are supposed to be, your guess is as good as mine. Simply Life is a home furnishings store here in Shanghai--sort of like Crate & Barrel--so I guess the person is supposed to look like ... a lamp? A floor? Beats the hell out of me. Other things about this scene that beat the hell out of me: How do you go about getting this job? Do you reply to an ad that says "Wanted: Person to stand for hours on end in a nonsensical suit that you can't see out of. No experience necessary." How desperate do you have to be to respond to such an ad? And if you do get the job, do you actually tell your friends and family about it, or do you make up some excuse--you're sick, you have errands to run, you have to do your hair, etc.--for why you can't do anything Sunday afternoon and then take solace in the fact that, since you have a red hat-like object covering your face, no one will be able to recognize you?

Of course, the important part is how it looks on your resume: "Solely responsible for executing marketing campaign designed to increase visibility of and draw increased foot traffic into company's flagship store." Actually, when you put it that way, I guess it doesn't sound so bad. I wonder how much it pays ...
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