Reflections from the Street Corner (It’s Not What You Think)

I have a job!  I decided to join the ranks of the employed, and found part-time work as a marketer for the local franchise of a national income tax firm (think H&R Block).  While on the job, I occasionally canvas local neighborhoods and business with pamphlets and other leave-behinds, but mostly I am a costumed “waver” who stands at the street corner, holding signs and waving at passersby whilst dancing a jig or shaking my booty.  The goal is to get people to smile, honk, or wave back (and maybe visit our shop to have their taxes done).  Here’s a pic of Yours Truly in company colors.  How do I look?

Liberty Tax 1

It isn’t a bad job as these things go – the work is not hard and the hours are flexible.  The pay, as it happens, is atrocious, and the whole gig ends after Tax Day on April 15th, but in my two months on the job I’ve already amassed several quirky stories.  Here they are, in bullet point form.  Happy reading!

On-the-job observations

  • Veterans and senior citizens are the most likely to wave; cell-phone-using young women are the least likely.
  • I receive more waves and honks on rainy days than on sunny days. Sympathy acknowledgments perhaps?
  • “Vols” fans – that’s the University of Tennessee Volunteers, whose fans are most easily identifiable by the orange “T” on their license plates – are quick with a wave and a smile. Go Vols!
  • I always motion at oncoming semis to honk. Many truckers humor me, but the omnipresent Coca-Cola delivery truck drivers almost never do. Bastards.
  • Sometimes I play air guitar or mime the “YMCA”; kids in particular love this.
  • I’ve been known to blow kisses to female drivers.
  • My record for the most consecutive drivers to honk or wave at me is eight.
  • I get some funny reactions from time to time. Once, when I was doing jumping jacks, a guy rolled down his window and shouted “Do you wanna buy some more crack?” at me.  My reply: “No, but I’ll take some for free!”
  • Another time, I rolled up my right pant leg and was flashing some skin/shin at the passing cars. An old, straw hat-wearing grandpa gave me the stare of death as he drove past and I could distinctly hear the words “What in the tarnation?!” coming out of his mouth, in his best Yosemite Sam voice.
  • The weather this week has been positively spring-like – including lots of rain – but there were several days where it was downright chilly. I’m talking morning temps of 21 degrees, face-burning winds…or both.  I never thought I’d need long underwear in Tennessee.
  • Speaking of cold weather gear, “Hot Hands” is a genius invention. Literally, Hot Hands (direct order website http://www.hothandsdirect.com/) are glove inserts that release warm air upon contact, and stay warm for ten hours.  During one cold day, I stuck a second pair of Hot Hands inside my shoes.
  • I lost six days of work – and pay – as a result of The Great Tennessee Snowpocalypse of 2015.
  • I have some interesting coworkers. One of my fellow wavers is just 28 years old but has, in his words, “six kids with three different baby mamas.”  Ricky Bobby (not his real name) is a nice enough guy – and I normally try not to judge people – but he’s something of a dope, and his accent is so thick that when it speaks it sounds as if he doesn’t even have six teeth, let alone the sex appeal needed to convince three different women to bear children for him two times each!  I guess I just don’t understand people….
  • I was busted by the cops one afternoon “for standing too close to the road.” Apparently, the law mandates that I stand at least ten feet from the road.  I didn’t know this – and I thanked the police officer for making me aware – but I also wondered why she was hassling me and not chasing gun runners or busting any of the literally hundreds of meth labs in town.
  • Even though I live and work roughly 400 miles from the nearest ocean, the parking lot at my place of work is the daily gathering spot for a large colony of seagulls. I haven’t been pooped on…yet.
  • According to my boss, 50% of our customers credit marketers such as me for the reason they stopped by! Maybe I should negotiate a commission?  😉
  • Somewhat surprisingly, I’ve only been flipped the bird twice.
  • I have a college degree, 12 years of corporate experience plus almost two years of living and working abroad…and yet this job was the best that I could find.  I’ve been humbled.

Have you ever had such a job?  Share your stories in the comments section below!

Author: gringopotpourri

Gringo - aka Scott - was born outside of Chicago and has lived most of his life in or around big cities. He spent two years of his adult life in Mexico City (talk about big cities!) and fell in love with Mexican food, history, and women, all while weathering the culture shock. Life's journey has since brought him to rural Tennessee, perhaps the biggest culture shock of them all. Scott also enjoys movies, hiking, and travel in general.

5 thoughts on “Reflections from the Street Corner (It’s Not What You Think)”

  1. I once (many, MANY years ago) had a job selling flowers on a Denver street. It was just a summer job so I never had to deal with winter weather. Being on the street brings with it a whole world of possibilities, some good, some bad. Once some random guy bought all my flowers and gave me a $25 tip. But breathing all that exhaust got kind of old after awhile.

  2. A little over a couple of years ago. Before I got the great job I now have, I worked at the airport for Fed Ex. I worked in one of their big buildings cleaning up in the loading side of the building. It was wintertime. The loading/sorting side does not have any heat and the loading dock doors are always open. One day I got up for work and it was 5º F when I got to work. The high that day was 13º, in the loading docks it didn’t get over 15º the entire day. I never complain about my current job. ;-D

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