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Lending a helping hand ; Liberty Tax Service ‘wavers’ get attention during tax season
St. Joseph News-Press April 12, 2009 | Blake Hannon Uncle Sam and the Statue of Liberty are universal symbols of America — and they wouldn’t mind if you gave them an occasional honk.
From the beginning of tax season right up until April 15, Liberty Tax Service at 701 S. Belt Highway in St. Joseph implements a playful tactic to get drivers’ attention.
They call them “wavers,” individuals who get dressed up as eye- catching American icons to wave at cars and, hopefully, get people through Liberty’s doors. in our site liberty tax service
“It’s kind of an attention-getter,” says Liberty Tax Service tax preparer Sharon Raines. “Actually, it does work.” This year’s wavers are Robert Raymer, 36, and Andy Worley, 22. Both men got the task through the job placement service Labor Max. They work in four-hour shifts Monday through Saturday. Mr. Worley’s is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Mr. Raymer takes over from 2 to 6 p.m.
On a recent Friday afternoon, Mr. Raymer is greeted with clear skies and 60-degree sun. Donning an Uncle Sam costume and headphones tuned to a “rock ‘n’ roll station,” Mr. Raymer gets into character, alternating waving hands while doing his perpetual sideways line dance at $7.05 an hour.
“Even when you’re a kid or an adult and you get into a Halloween costume… it kind of changes your personality,” Mr. Raymer says. “When I’m in this costume, I’m not myself.” For Mr. Worley’s shift the following Monday morning, the weather isn’t so accommodating. With 30-degree temperatures and gusty winds, he’s prepared for a cold day in the outdoors. He’s wearing two pairs of gloves, overalls, a stocking cap and two sweatshirts — and that’s before putting on his Lady Liberty costume, which he has chosen for its additional warmth. libertytaxservicenow.net liberty tax service
“The only thing I don’t like about this job is the weather,” Mr. Worley says.
He walks back and forth waving at cars, braving the cold as long as he can before he takes a break to go inside to warm up. It’s hard not to notice the ground beneath him — a 25-foot strip of dirt and dust with the occasional sprig of or straw-colored shrubbery. You can tell the grass gave up growing here.
“Pretty much, that’s from all the walking,” Mr. Worley says.
The reactions Mr. Worley and Mr. Raymer get are varied. Most are honks, waves and smiles. Others are obscene hand gestures, expletives and the occasional flying object. But even when motorists give them a hard time, neither breaks character.
“It bothers them that I’m not giving them that (ticked)-off response they’re looking for,” Mr. Raymer says.
When tax season is over, Mr. Raymer and Mr. Worley will be looking for other jobs, and the costumes will be put away until next season. But until April 15, serving as a friendly, fun reminder for a time and task most people dread is all in a day’s work.
Lifestyles reporter Blake Hannon can be reached at [email protected] Blake Hannon
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