A sign of good marketing?

Wen Jeng, a sign waver, increased business this tax season with his awesome dance moves.

Kate Ferrante, WireTV Managing Editor

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Vimeo / UMass Journalism – via Iframely

People beep their horns and shout at the corner of College and South East Street in Amherst, Mass., a few minutes away from the University of Massachusetts campus, but not because of reckless driving or road rage. Instead, it is because of Wen Jeng and his unique job.

Jeng is the Liberty Tax Service sign waver. He can be found at 362 College St. holding a sign with the promotion of the week and dancing along to the playlist blasting from his ear buds. Wearing a bright crimson Lady Liberty costume and foam crown, Jeng works about four times a week, each shift broken up between the hours of 9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m.

“I was doing some theater work and I wasn’t sure when the next gig would be, so I wanted to find a way to get some money,” Jeng said. But what started as a short-term gig he found on Craig’s List turned into a stable job.

“Basically the base pay is $10 [an hour], but if you stick until April, which I’m definitely planning on doing because I really like this job, they give you two extra dollars per every hour that you’ve already worked,” Jeng said. “I think it’s a pretty decent gig.”

Liberty Tax Service owner Ralph Guisti talked very highly of all the wavers and grinned from ear-to-ear when talking about Jeng specifically.

“He’s probably the best waver we have ever had. He’s just motivated and we have people constantly coming in and talking about how good he is,” Guisti said. “Liberty has wavers to get people to see we are involved in the community.”

And the community loves Jeng.

“I always see him on my Snapchat from all my friends who go to UMass,” senior communication disorders major Lauren Kostegan said with a smile.

“Every time I see him out there, I just want to go in and do my taxes,” senior hospitality and tourism management major Juliet Woodruff jokingly added.

“People have like pulled over to talk to me,” Jeng said, “and I’ve gotten tipped a couple of times, which is really interesting, I never expected that to happen.” Jeng is allowed to accept tips, but is actually compensated by Liberty Tax for good reviews, so call-ins are very beneficial when it comes to his paycheck.

Community members also recognize him when he is off the clock, running errands or out to eat, which Jeng said is always a pleasant surprise.

Guisti explained how it is common for people to call in and say that it is unfair to employ wavers, especially during extremely hot or cold days, but they have not received any comments in regards to Jeng.

“His enthusiasm is so apparent that they think he enjoys it — and he does,” Guisti said.

And Jeng has helped a lot when it comes to Liberty Tax’s recent move from Route 9 to College Street. “I think that at this new location we wouldn’t be doing nearly as well if it weren’t for our wavers getting people to realize we’re here,” Guisti said.

The business expected a temporary decline in client awareness, since that is the typical trend after moving locations, but was surprised to find a 35 percent increase in clients instead.

According to Guisti and Jeng, approximately 75 percent of their business is a direct result of the wavers.

When asked if he was surprised about the number of clients drawn in by his dancing, Jeng responded, “everybody likes disco moves.”

Email Kate at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @_kateferrante.

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