One of the jobs I had when I was in about 6th grade was selling flowers on the corner. Yup, read it and weep. There was a guy in my neighborhood that ran it as a side business.
He would buy flowers wholesale then have 12 year olds dropped off around busy traffic areas around Chester County to sell them. We’d hold the flowers out for drivers to see. They would sometimes stop and buy them. I think we got 25 cents for each small bunches we sold and 35 cents for the large bunches.
And it sucked. I swear that if it wasn’t a holiday like Easter or Mother’s Day and I was on a crappy corner I’d sometimes make like $12 after six hours. That comes to…well…YOU do the math. What am I? A human abacus or Chisanbop expert?
Here are a few of the things I remember most about the job:
- The first day I show up and we’re all piled in the back of a white serial killer style van. We’d sit on overturned buckets. When we passed under overpasses, all the greasers would throw bottles out of the windows to smash on the walls. (By the way – other than my friend Flare and me – it was all greasers. Oh, and the teenage goofy ass driver Gene. He looked like a shorter version of that tall freak on C.P.O. Sharkey*)
- Once on the corner of Boot Road and Route 100 - with all of my flower buckets lined up – an 18 wheeler accidently turned the corner and came up on the grass and smashed all of my flowers. The A-hole didn’t even stop. The faces on the drivers that witnessed it ranged from “Oh my God! That poor boy’s flowers!” to “HAHAHA!! That kid’s flowers are getting smashed by a fucking 18 wheeler!” (I was so embarrassed I stood there and pretended it wasn’t happening.)
My friend Flare was selling flowers on 113 in Downingtown and the police showed up and were looking for something in the weeds 10 feet behind him. Flare asked what they were looking for and the cop said nonchalantly, “There was a murder in that house last night. We’re looking for the gun.”
Once on Route 100 (near the Exton Drive-in) I opened a soda bottle and the cap flew off and shot into my eye. I was so startled I almost walked into traffic.
Once when we were dropped back at Randy the owner’s house he called me into his office and this happened:
Randy: Jimmy, there seems to be some money missing of yours.
Randy: Did you steal it?
Me: What?? No.
Randy: I’m going to have to ask you to empty your pockets and take your shoes off.
(Gene walks his goofy ass into the office)
Gene: Hey Randy here’s the money that was missing.
Randy: You asshole Gene!!! Jimmy you can leave now.
Yup. I had all the glamorous jobs.
*See his goofy ass picture above.