Not every street vendor is a racist bigot who doesn't wash their hands and sleeps in their carts. And to prove it, a 21-year-old pushcart vendor who works his father's coffee and donuts cart did an AMA question-and-answer on Reddit this weekend.
The vendor, who is currently trying to get into medical school, said that his father owns three carts, and they make a six-figure salary a year altogether: "From my cart I would gross around 600-700, other cart would gross around 800, and 3rd cart was rented out to a friend for 500 a week." He did note that those amounts were from last summer; this summer his cart is only grossing about $500 per day. His father spent about $40K to start up the business 15 years ago, and another $90K for his current spot.
He also explained that he works 12 hour shifts five days a week generally (between 11:30 p.m. and 1 p.m.)—and 80 percent of their business comes between 6-10 a.m. His particular cart gets much of their baked goods from Kabirs Bakery. Below, check out his takes on turf wars, leftovers and cops, as well as three of his craziest experiences:
- On leftovers: "This is actually an unwritten rule...never ever give free food to homeless people. Although it seems like the right thing to do, they always come back for free food, and harass customers on a daily basis."
- On vendor turf wars: "Wouldn't you be pissed if you were selling something and someone opens up right next to you selling the exact same thing?"
- On the difficulty of keeping sanitary conditions: "Very difficult; you must wear net on your hair at all times, gloves at all times, carts must have operable sinks/ handwashing station, milk must be at a certain temperature at all times. If you dont do them, you get hefty fines."
- On his favorite customer: "This millionaire, he comes with his Starbucks cup tells me to fill it with my coffee in the Starbucks cup because he likes my coffee but doesn't want to seem cheap in front of people in his meetings."
- On cops: "Yes; we try to give it to them for free but they always pay because it counts as bribery or something."
- His craziest personal experience: "Some gay guys buy a large bottle of water (1.5 Liters) and one dude pulls his pants down while the other guy proceeds to shove the bottle in and out of him..they were really drunk too."
- His weirdest personal experience: "This one time I was feeling tired (it was around 3 a.m.) so I told my dad I was going to go to sleep in our van around the corner. So I'm sleeping in the van (under sheets) when I hear someone open the door and sift through the boxes in the van. Now I thought it was my dad getting supplies so I didn't think any thing of it. When I finally decide to sit up (to see what my dad was doing) I come face to face with this black guy. I was in shock and all I could say was "can I help you?" The dude and I are staring at each other while he is slowly backing away and he leaves through the side door."
- The weirdest thing he's seen while on duty: "Some dude robs bank, undercover cops were already outside, dude comes out and throws all the cash he just stole onto the sidewalk/ street. Guy in motorcycle was waiting for him so he jumped on motorcycle and booked it."