Thursday, April 7, 2016

#A-TO-Z CHALLENGE – LETTER “E” - ENTREPRENEURS


Letter “E” is for Entrepreneurs, but not the kind like, oh say, Donald Trump and his ilk. No, these are the street entrepreneurs that pop up just about any old place. All you need is a blue tarp, probably left behind by FEMA, after one of our many hurricanes in 2004, something to drape said blue tarp upon and if you don't have any aluminum tent framing, a bunch of 1x1 sticks duct-taped together, or a 40-foot ladder that you bought from 4 guys one night, MAY work, but you'll have to be damned clever to pull that off, and a spot to set up shop.


This is kind of what our street Entrepreneurs look like, only not as prosperous. They usually have a card table, with a very small selection of crappy CDs, and crappy dresses, maybe. But, they're just starting out.

Usually giving 5 bucks a day to some gas station or one of the festering eye-sores' parking lots, that we refer to as “strip malls” with their mostly-closed stores, or “antique” shops that are mainly picked-over junk from Goodwill boxes that the bums didn't even want will serve as your spot to conduct business.

And boy, howdy, do we have a selection of goodies to tempt even the most jaded shopper. CDs that are a bunch of randomly mixed ghetto hip-hop generated on a Casio, with an electronic drum loop. The lyrics go something like this: “Yo... yo, yo... Bang! Bang!” And we're all excited to hear the dance version that goes on for like, fifty minutes. Most of these CDs are ripped off from some other ripped off CD and are chock-full-o-bugs. So, you can count on having to call your local computer geek (that's ME!) to get your shit fixed, so that you're not always getting that crappy FBI page and nothing else when you boot up your laptop.


I found this on the sidewalk. The entire playable side is totally scratched up, so I never tried to play it, but you gotta love the title. Also, the first time I tried to insert the picture of the CD, it boogered up my blog post, so you gotta know this thing is just chock-full-o-bugs!

The TPD keeps an eye on these budding moguls because they also sell Spice which has been known to have the nasty side-effect of causing the user to eat other people's faces, and they also are supposed to have some sort of license to sell their goods if they are not selling from home. I'm going to take a wild leap here and guess that our budding "The Donalds" don't have homes to sell from. When you talk to them, they often mention that they're opening a new franchise somewhere else, but they are kinda iffy on the details on “the somewhere else” part.


This is pretty much like the Velvet John Wayne picture I saw at the street Entrepreneur's "shop" the day I visited. I'm not sure what period of The Duke's career this is supposed to represent, or if it is a catch-all for all of his many phases; The Quiet Man, The Conqueror (Mongolian Cowboy), True Grit, or the War Wagon. The Duke also seems to be missing his right eye, or maybe the artist got tired and needed a lie-down before completing his masterpiece. We will have to content ourselves with guessing, which also may have been part of the artist's intent.

The ones who have stepped up their game are also selling crappy dresses for 10.00 a pop and God Forbid, painted velvet rugs, ever so classy, somewhere. They offer painted tigers and John Waynes. I haven't seen Elvis in a while, so I guess he was a limited edition. Let me assure you that velvet John Wayne looks nothing like the real John Wayne, nor is he even vaguely humanoid. I had to ask the proprietor, out on the corner of Hillsborough Avenue and Nebraska Avenue if I was looking at early Picasso. He had no clue as to what I was talking about, but he did ask me if I would like to buy some Spice. I said, “Hell no, I'm tripping bad enough on this painting. What or who is this?” He rummaged around and looked at the back of it, “Is John Wayne. Famous American Cowboy!”

I passed on the John Wayne and all the crappy dresses and the horrible CDs. But it's fun to go and see these guys. The following week, his little shop had moved elsewhere. I wish him prosperity and luck with his endeavors, but lose the Spice, dewd. It's dangerous!


12 comments:

Eden "Kymele" Mabee said...

We don't get many of this particular type of Entrepreneur up this way (more in certain areas of NYC or more locally Troy and Schenectady), but they exist. And I grew up seeing so much of this it's almost like going home. My grandparents used to do the huge farmers market in Syracuse twice a week... there was always someone hawking ware just outside the main buildings and commission houses.

It gets in your blood some too. My mother and her brothers swore they didn't have the time or energy to keep selling things at the market since 'real' jobs and family and health all seem to be taking their toll... and then every year, they start planning the planting and buy and selling and... heck, sometimes I can't understand why I don't move out to help out every summer for the same reason.

Coming back here and reading these snippets in your distinctive, powerful voice reminds me of one of the real joys of blogging, Mary. Thank you

Courtney Turner said...

How strange. When we were in Tampa, I don't remember these street entrepreneurs, but this was before the hurricanes. Gotta ask about this sentence: "The TPD keeps an eye on these budding moguls because they also sell Spice which has been known to have the nasty side-effect of causing the user to eat other people's faces..." Wha-at? "eat other people's faces"? #perplexed Need more info.
Maui Jungalow

D Biswas said...

Thanks for showing us a different side of Tampa, Mary!
Damyanti, AZ cohost 2016

Kathe W. said...

wow- we have them in our little town also- I always stop and at least look -mostly hand made jewelry- sometimes used items. Cheers -I am enjoying your blog.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find you IWSG post, so I'm posting here. Interesting post on street vendors though. I remember seeing similar ones scattered around the Bronx growing up (although they weren't as organized - a few strays ready to pack and run at the sight of cops).

I appreciated your comment on my IWSG post and I'm going to take you up on your offer once I catch a free minute. Thank you a million times over, for that and for co-hosting on Wednesday too. Hugs. Eva

betty said...

I rarely buy anything from street vendors, but I always enjoy seeing what they are trying to sell :)

betty

Viola Fury said...

@Eden,

Thank you so very much for what is probably the best compliment I have ever received! I write pretty much like I talk and I've learned to be as authentic as possible. I got that from my mom who wrote both poetry and pose and was and absolute bear about living up to your own standards. Let's just say, "I try". I have a lot of fun ratting around the inner city, but I'm not able to do so much of it by myself, since the incident with two muggers last year, but I have my trusty "pretend adopted son" Alex, who is pretty much up for any thing I want to go and explore. Thanks again for stopping by, Eden! <3 Mary

Viola Fury said...

@Courtney!

Thanks for stopping by. I'm not sure how long they've been around, but you wouldn't see them in any of the "touristy" spots. They primarily thrive in the inner city and the poorer parts of Tampa, so I don't know where you were. I also have only lived here since 2010, when I became homeless, so I have no knowledge of the time prior to that, I just know they were here when I got here.

"Spice" is a term that is used for bath salts, that has exactly one molecule altered so that it can be sold legally, until chemists that work for the Government analyze it and then make it illegal, which then makes the street chemists, the "cookers" find another molecule to change or remove to once again, make the substance legal and re-market under a different name, is all technically an illegal substance, that is considered fake marijuana.

The huge problem with "Spice" is that it doesn't mellow out the user as real Mary Jane does. It hypes people up; they have episodes of seizures, frothing at the mouth. The face-eating guy is real. It happened in Miami, where a user killed someone by chewing his face off before the Miami police could get the user off of the victim and it makes people powerfully strong, much like PCP does.

Living on the street, or near it, you have to know your drugs and what they do to people, so that you know if you need to run like hell, or if you are going to be able to at least keep them occupied until the cops arrive.

Eventually, the Lawmakers in Florida may stop being corrupt enough to just outlaw all Spice-like products and get the whole mess off the streets. Really, bath salts were not meant to be ingested. It's like the idiots who chuff paint from a can. Yikes! Anyway, that is why the TPD keeps an eye on the Entrepreneurs, although sadly, Spice is generally purchased from a Bodega (convenience Mart) and smoked like a joint. Thanks for stopping by! <3 Mary

Viola Fury said...

@Kathe!

Thanks for stopping by! You may enjoy today's post more. It's on Flea Markets and we have two of the best here near and on Nebraska. The fun-lan one is considered one of the best swap-shops in the country, plus you can watch a drive-in movie! Again, thanks for stopping by! Mary

Viola Fury said...

@Damyanti!

Thanks for stopping by! I had a lot of fun writing this! You just never know what you'll find in the Entrepreneurs areas. Sometimes they have some nice jewelry for sale, but it's all mostly junk. What several of them do is raise enough money to rent a booth at one of our local Flea Markets and then they upgrade and sell better merchandise, although some are just trying to sell enough to feed their drug habit and will forever be selling junk by the side of the road. Thanks for stopping by, D! <3 Mary

Viola Fury said...

@lilicaspace!

Here is the link to the #IWSG post: http://homelesschroniclesintampa.blogspot.com/p/iwsg.html . And yes, please do feel free to take me up on the offer. I wouldn't have offered it, had I not meant it. These vendors, and I prefer to call them "entrepreneurs" because they all talk like they have that next big deal around the corner, but are really vendors, come and go like the wind. They are not aggressive towards one another and they all sell the same crap, so it's kind of hard to see how anyone makes any money at all. Anyway, I'm glad I ran across your blog and yes, the offer stands! <3 Mary

Viola Fury said...

@Betty!

I don't buy anything either, but it is fun to look at all the stuff they have for sale!