Metro Diaries: 6 Stops with Daniel the Candy Man

“Two for a dollar…” Daniel poses with his Skittles just before he sold them to his colleague and went off to buy more chocolate to sell. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

“I GOT ARRESTED once,” Daniel said, cheerfully.

The charge was “disturbing the peace” and carried a fine of nearly $400.

“For selling candy??” I asked.

“For selling candy,” he said, shaking his head and gesturing toward his box of Skittles.

He agreed to 11 hours of community service, but still ended up paying a $175 fine.

“For selling CANDY,” he repeated.

The other riders packed into the Blue Line shook their heads in disbelief.

“I’m not disturbing the peace…I walk through fast saying, ‘Fifty cents. Two for a dollar. Fifty cents. Two for a dollar.’ I keep going…” he demonstrated, walking up and down the aisle. “If people want something, they stop me. Otherwise, I don’t bother them.”

Passengers behind him nodded. To many regular riders, he and other vendors are part of the landscape — and not necessarily an unwelcome one. Within two stops’ time, he had managed to sell the half a box worth of Snickers bars he had been holding when I first spotted him at the Washington-Grand stop. By the time he reached my end of the train, all he had left were a few citrus Skittles, and people continued to approach him for candy while we chatted.

Only once in three years has anyone taken issue with his chosen profession, he said. An unhappy passenger yelled at him to get a real job. When he responded that he was working, the guy got in his face and started getting nasty, even throwing around the N-word.

“But people on the trains, they know me,” he gestured down the aisle. His “customers” had rallied around him, he said, forcing the belligerent passenger to step back and cool off. Not wanting any trouble, he just wished the guy well, told him to have a good day, and got off the train.

When he is not logging hours working parking lots and the trains — something that nets him between $50-$60 a day — he sells T-shirts and other goods on the side. Asked why he was vending and not doing something else, given that he seemed to be a natural entrepreneur, he shook his head, “Things are tough. Finding a job is tough.”

He glanced down at his candy box suddenly, assessed the Skittles situation, and decided he wasn’t satisfied.

Looking up as we pulled to a stop, he pointed out the window at a vendor on the platform, a skinny guy sporting a pair of jeans with the Watts Towers and “Watts Up!” airbrushed on one leg.

“That’s my partner…I’m going to sell him the rest of my Skittles!” he winked at me. He was quick to sense trends and free himself of things that people weren’t responding to so that he could stock up on products he knew would sell. “The problem with these particular Skittles is they were discontinued…” he held up the box for my inspection and launched into a discussion of the finer points of the fickle Blue Line market, concluding, finally: “People want chocolate.”

“Thanks for doing your part to promote diabetes in South L.A.,” I joked.

He shook his head and laughed. He is a man who knows his market: “Everybody needs a piece of chocolate in their day.”

Do you have a story about how transit is linked to your livelihood? I’d love to hear about it: sahra@streetsblog.org

  • Sandra Dee

    … and this is why I don’t ride the Blue Line if I can avoid it.

  • sahra

    I’m sorry you feel that way. I know a lot of people are intimidated by the crush of the Blue Line, and my goal was to humanize it a bit by creating a window for people get to know some of its riders. Daniel is a very sweet and bright young guy who was well-liked by people on the train and who took the initiative to find a way to work during a recession in which he could not get hired. He is one of the many reasons I rather love the Blue Line…it is never dull and there is always someone with a good story to tell if you just ask.

  • sahra

    I’m sorry you feel that way. I know a lot of people are intimidated by the crush of the Blue Line, and my goal was to humanize it a bit by creating a window for people get to know some of its riders. Daniel is a very sweet and bright young guy who was well-liked by people on the train and who took the initiative to find a way to work during a recession in which he could not get hired. He is one of the many reasons I rather love the Blue Line…it is never dull and there is always someone with a good story to tell if you just ask.

  • Ubrayj02

    The only reason I can find for giving the guy a ticket is for selling corn syrup filled crap. There are no laws against that, but there should be.

    Why doesn’t Metro plan its stations with concessions? Why don’t they license vendors? Why are there no bathrooms or showers at stations?

    They don’t do any of this because they really don’t give a crap about their riders as anything other than a statistic when begging for money, or as liabilities when paying for service. I am eternally surprised that Metro doesn’t see that it can use its ad space to encourage its riders to register to vote, get on a path to citizenship, and engage politically for a better system … until I visit the Taj Mahal at Union Station and see an insulated bureaucratic elite in their fortress of public debt and pensions.

  • FAILblog

    Sorry but streetsblog is looking more and more like the PR firm of the BRU.  Promoting illegal behavior by highlighting these vendors is irresponsible. 

  • Ubrayj02

    ORLY? And you would be of the Suburban Rail Fan Boy Collective I presume? I think that rail fascists should have to register before commenting here.

  • FAILblog

    OK mr Pigeon next time I am in the hood I am setting up a lemonade stand in your shop.  How do you like them apples?

  • I think Josef said it best below.  If Metro had a program to deliver healthy food at its stations, people like Daniel would be out of business.  If he’s a menace, there are ways to deal with that by taking away his market.  That Metro hasn’t tried to do that, at least as of yet, means that he’s not seen as a threat.

  • Ubrayj02

    OK Mr. FAILblog, but why would it be profitable for someone to set up a lemonade shop in my bike shop when there are restaurants and stores not more than 10 yards away from my doors who can do it better?

    I assumed your comment was facetious, so I wrote something to provoke you that I hoped to be false but I am guessing was closer to the mark than I expected.

    If you think that bringing up my business is going to stop me from speaking my mind, you don’t know how little it pays to be in the bike business.

  • FAILblog

    Damien:
    Metro has done a lot since they picked up Union Station by adding these services.  Rush snack bar at 7th street metro station too.  I Agree metro can do more, but you are saying there is a market this guy is filling, it is a black market and people that take metro don’t pay to be solicited 100 times on a 40 min ride into DTLA.

    UBROJ02:
    I am not saying it would be profitable, but my point was would you like someone soliciting in your private business?  I think not.  And for the record your shop is awesome and you are a gem to the community.

  • AngelaBee

    Nice article Sahra, reminds me of one of my favorite books, Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier.  It undermines conventional stereotypes of street vendors and shows a true entrepreneur and contributing member of society, thank you for that! I wish more people would be more understanding of people trying to make ends meet.  Go Daniel! 

  • sahra

    Gentlemen, gentlemen… this was more of a who-are-the-people-in-your-neighborhood piece not a promotion of illegal behavior. The Blue Line is vital to many people’s ability to make a living–either to get to work, to move around, to get back on their feet, to get to school, to pull together some cash on the side–there’s kind of an urgency to it more than on any of the other trains i’ve ridden…and I wanted to know more about who rides it, why, and how–that’s it. I did ask him why sell under the table and his honest answer was that he couldn’t get a job. It’s a recession. So he has done what many in lower-income communities have done, which is to scramble and hustle in the informal economy. He wanted to work, but rather than sit around and complain and get assistance, he decided to do something. Older folk I’ve spoken to from South LA about the vendors mentioned that “back in the day” they saw vending as a respectable activity because they could not get hired for other work. Unemployment has hit certain communities quite hard, and South LA is one of them. This was one man’s story of how he was dealing with it, for better or for worse.

    People get antsy about this because he isn’t paying taxes, something I fully understand and see as a valid point. However, I don’t ever see anybody railing at time banks (or other sorts of sharing networks), which are also part of the informal economy and where the bartering of services informally takes away from people who perform those services as their business. Those are often framed as innovative solutions to tight times… whereas hustling and vending is criminal. I happen to think time banks are great. But not everybody can survive that way.

     And unfortunately, i have to disagree with Damien… Daniel is right: people want chocolate, not fruit. You can put all the fruit out there you want, and Daniel will still make more money… sad but true!

  • Anonymous

    Here is the simple truth:  Daniel is peddling (that’s the legal term) his wares on LACMTA property.  Should something happen to anyone who ingests the candy he sells or should someone be struck by a box of Skittles or a hundred free-flying Skittles when a train has to brake sharply and/or suddenly, that individual will attempt to litigate (sue).  The most obvious guilty party is Daniel.  

    But Daniel has no assets worth pursuing, and so under California law, if the LACMTA can be found to have had the slightest responsibility, LACMTA will be enjoined to the lawsuit.  

    And thanks to various state-funded Insurance policies that LACMTA has to have they are now “the Deepest Pocket”.  Which means the LACMTA will be on the hook for reimbursing Mrs. or Mr. Blue Line rider for the permanent damage and salary lost from the Skittle that was lodged in their eye or caused them Food Poisoning .  Money that ultimately comes from all of us.And that is why LACMTA has to dissuade people like Daniel from doing what is maybe a service, but ultimately is a liability.

    Oh, and then there is the rat issue, and plague and other nasty diseases that food dropped on train floors attracts, but that’s for another post.

  • FAILblog

    Another sad fact from this piece is that he did 11 hours of community service and payed a $175 fine.  That is more punishment than the average hit and run criminal that gets caught. 

  • ubrayj02

     Oh Pollyanna, you always bring such a smile to my face.

    That, and the plague.

    Good grief.

  • Lostangelino

    Id rather purchase oranges flowers or candy from a freeway exit or at a station or train. Instead of giving my hard earned money to someone capable of doing the same thing asking for change with a homeless sign. These people are still willing to work yet  rail snobs act as if its a huge crime.  

  • Matt

    Showers and bathrooms add significant expense and liability.  Selling candy should not be allowed on the train.  The wrappers and candy itself is sure to be littered and people should really have the right to be left alone when riding transit.  Also, it adds to the sense of lawlessness.  Everyone knows it is illegal and yet no one is stopping him.  Criminals see this and think what they might be able to get away with.

  • Parlorpink

    I think there’s a real cultural difference here–not sure whether it’s race or class or both. On the Blue Line, selling candy and other things seem to be part of normal activities, but some of us find it a little disconcerting, maybe a little intrusive.

  • True Freedom

    A contributing member of society… is he collecting and remitting sales tax?  Has he paid his business license fees?  or is he simply skirting tax laws to supplement his public assistance check? 
    Sorry for sounding so cruel, but the “contributing member of society” thing seemed like a bit of a stretch.  He does sound like a friendly chap, tho.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed.  Total overkill, probably racist or classist.

  • sahra

    @eafdb538126573d539fbcf7bf3b2d4cf:disqus , I can’t believe I have to say this, but it seems that I do for future reference: let’s please not assume that because he is African-American that he is getting public assistance and trying to work the system. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, of course, but some of the comments
    here (not just this one) go well beyond that. They are not the same judgments that would be
    leveled at a middle-class person who was freelancing on the side under
    the table to supplement their income or their unemployment check. Moreover, my understanding is that he is not–he is working. He works constantly. He just is unable to get a job, which is unfortunate because he seems like a good candidate–he is pleasant, bright, kind, good with people, self-motivated, and thinks quickly on his feet. I’ve been taken aback by some of the things I’ve seen in the comments (again, not just this one); I had hoped that by presenting someone like Daniel as a person like everyone else, not only would he be seen that way but that readers would have a glimpse into some of the realities of life in South LA. At the time I spoke to him, I let him know the story would be up Monday or Tuesday, and so I am assuming he is going to read all of these comments at some point. I hope that people will keep that in mind…

    Best,

    sahra

  • Davistrain

    I haven’t ridden the Blue Line lately, but I wouldn’t have a problem with a business-like vendor selling “goodies”.  He’s not pestering people, and we should remember that back 150 years ago Thomas Edison worked as a “news and candy butcher” on the local passenger train.   And I might be considered part of the “suburban rail fan boy collective” because I do support railway construction projects and I do live in a suburban area.  Some of the objection to this vendor might be from people who consider such vendors to be “too third-worldly” for their taste.  Then he seems to be getting flak from the “diet police”, who would have candy and salty snacks outlawed as menaces to health on a par with dope and tobacco.   I suppose my main message should be: “Lighten up, Folks!”
    (and for our musical sign-off, we’ll play “Daniel, my brother….” by Sir Elton John.)

  • Anonymous

    Blame the lawyers.

  • Anonymous

    Metro purists talking about the way things ought to be in the perfect Metro world we need to live in a perfect world before the Metro can exist on your terms.

    People in Daniel’s position are living off the smallest crumbs of coin in a bad economy and they take their chances getting caught and receiving a fine. That’s the tax they pay.

    When communities are in an economic rut for decades why be discouraging to individuals that are trying to get by? Because wrappers get left on the Metro? We don’t we hold 7-11 accountable for the big gulps that get dumped on the side of the road. A litter bug’s gonna litter.

    Sahra didn’t profile the lady who rides the red line selling dope (not sure what kind but she’s for sure a pusher lady). That would have been controversial but candy? It is what kids sell for fundraisers at school. Girl Scouts sell sugar biscuits and every store that aims to make a profit sells some form of sugar near the register. I don’t like that sugar is such a beast but I hardly think that a story about a guy picking himself up by his bootstraps is the place to start a debate about our country’s sugar problems.

  • sahra, I hope your next article profiles the guy who pulls out his glass eye. Forget web 2.0 viral marketing, glass eye marketing is the future of panhandling.

    I have never and will never purchase products from or donate to any solicitors/panhandlers/peddlers on the train (or anywhere else), but to each their poison. At this point I would leave it up to the free market. They only exist because someone is buying. 

    They should, however, absolutely crack down on those selling bootleg DVDs and things of that nature.

  • TAPman is correct about the system. Metro must take basic steps to enforce its own rules. 

  • “They are not the same judgments that would be leveled at a middle-class person who was freelancing on the side under 
    the table to supplement their income or their unemployment check.”

    They absolutely are the same judgments. I worked side jobs and declared my income earned as an independent contractor. I would be very critical of anyone who didn’t no matter how much money they made. In our legal system, examples are made of rich folks who failed to pay their taxes. People don’t get a pass for “working under the table” just because they have money.

    While the guy’s sales don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, he isn’t an entrepreneur in the sense that he is competing in the same system and bound by the same regulations as everyone else. To me, what he does is a low priority issue, but it’s still an issue.

  • Matt, you are absolutely correct and it makes the Blue Line feel third-world. But that’s a problem for the people who live there, not outsiders. 

    It seems like they welcome him, but then again, who knows. There may be a dynamic in which most people dislike what he does but tolerates him. A bunch of riders stood up for him when that guy got in his face, but that might mean they just didn’t want to see a guy attacked over peddling. I wouldn’t either. 

  • “He is one of the many reasons I rather love the Blue Line…it is never dull and there is always someone with a good story to tell if you just ask.”

    They are often telling them to someone else on the phone. Nearly every time I have been on the Blue Line there has been someone speaking on the phone about their situations with the welfare office, parole officer, etc. It doesn’t make me not want to ride public transportation, but I can see how people talking loudly about the time they “caught a felony” (what is it, like catching a cold?) would give other potential riders concerns.

  • I wish L.A. transit felt more like “third-world” transit! When one enters great rail stations, seemingly just about anywhere other than Los Angeles, one hears music, smells foods for sale… I think Metro should be more concerned with activating these spaces with commerce, big and small… and maybe less concerned with maintaining a sterile environment (and giving away free car parking.)  There have been a few steps toward this (Union Station, 7th Street) but it should go further. Tianguis at Avenue 26! Swap meet in NoHo! etc. 

  • sahra

    @twitter-16109589:disqus  you’re right, I end up talking to an awful lot of parolees on the Blue Line going to visit their parole officers. Daniel was not one of them, for people’s information, nor was he a felon. But others certainly were. I haven’t had a problem with any of them, actually. Interesting conversations, yes. Problems, never. If they’re going to visit a parole officer then they are probably trying to keep themselves in line, and you can’t fault them for that. I’d be more worried about the ones that were blowing their parole officers off.

    Still, I can understand how people might be made nervous by that, which is one reason why I thought it would be good to start a series on the Blue Line–both to make it less intimidating for those that find it so and to tell the stories of the people for whom it is an integral part of their day. Clearly from all the comments that came in today, there is a lot of pre-judgment that happens regarding who is on the train, how they live their lives, and how they *should* live their lives… It speaks to the need to have more stories of this sort, not that “glorify” illegal activity or encourage rats to board the Blue Line and bring on the plague as was said above, but to show that many of the inhabitants of South LA live a different reality than much of the advocacy community does. Like the point made in the planning article, if we want to have transit solutions that benefit everyone, then we need to really know who these communities are and what their needs and realities are. A legal solution, like cracking down on vendors, is not going to change
    the economic needs of someone like Daniel. And truthfully, people like him.
    People are not bothered by vendors if the vendors don’t bother them. And
    since people are more likely to buy from people that are not bothering
    them, the vendors I’ve seen respect that. They have to–they see the
    same people every single day. Sometimes more than once a day…they’d put themselves out of business if they harassed people. 

    (much of this, btw, is directed to the general dialogue, not you specifically)
    But, you can point me to the dude with the glass eye… I do have a thing for the weird…

  • Rocio Maya

    Yeah, those guys are always on the train and I’ve always wondered why they choose that line of work but I never really got to talk to them on a one-on-one bases. Nice article!

  • True Freedom

    @ddc5730787ea872e997aa19979de2c79:disqus:  I assumed he was on public assistance, not because of his race, but because he’s selling Skittles on a train.  I would assume that a person making enough money to not be on public assistance would realize that the net profit per hour of a candy selling venture is not worth the time. 
    I don’t deny racism still exists, but please stop thinking it’s somehow buried in every comment.

  • @ddc5730787ea872e997aa19979de2c79:disqus 
     – Not sure if he’s still on there, but there was a guy who would ask for money and say that he was blind. To demonstrate this, he would take off his glasses, and remove his glass eyes. He’s alluded to at the beginning of this article:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/09/local/la-me-blue-line-20100609 

  • sahra

    @twitter-32161129:disqus thanks–i hadn’t seen the article, believe it or not. not sure i like it either–every single bad idea anyone ever had about the Blue Line makes a cameo appearance in that one ride. no wonder people are afraid to step on it. “tightly coiled gangbangers” with whom eye contact should be avoided?? wow. thanks, LA Times, for making the inhabitants of South LA sound like some culture in a petri dish gone terribly wrong…

    i’ll keep an eye out for the glass-eyed guy.

    no pun intended.

  • sahra

    @twitter-32161129:disqus thanks–i hadn’t seen the article, believe it or not. not sure i like it either–every single bad idea anyone ever had about the Blue Line makes a cameo appearance in that one ride. no wonder people are afraid to step on it. “tightly coiled gangbangers” with whom eye contact should be avoided?? wow. thanks, LA Times, for making the inhabitants of South LA sound like some culture in a petri dish gone terribly wrong…

    i’ll keep an eye out for the glass-eyed guy.

    no pun intended.

  • Guest

    Comments like those that fill this thread are why I stopped reading comments years ago.  The whatever-you-call-it advocacy “community” that has come to pollute this place is sadly disconnected from the reality that a huge majority of Metro patrons.  It’s no wonder there is always deafening silence from the “community” when it comes to “controversial” things like service cuts and fare hikes, which in most other Metropolitan areas are opposed by rail lovers and bus lovers alike.  Or even worse occurs when a minority group dare claims racism in Metro’s policies.

    To judge Daniel, or even worse suggest he become a true burden on society by criminalizing him is so…ignorant.  Ignorant of the history of immigrants and African-Americans who despite skills frequently were and continue to be discriminated against in the blue collar economy and therefore HAD/HAVE to find other ways to survive…emphasis on “survive.”  These folks are living the hardest of lifestyles, a level of poverty and economic challenge that would cause most of the people here to cut their throats. 

    I ask the critics: What would you rather Daniel do?

    It is ignorant to complain or suggest criminalizing Daniel about not paying taxes, while conveniently overlooking those who have created the economic conditions in a society that a) an able person can’t find work, b) refuses to provide the access to capital for people to start legitimate companies, and c) doesn’t provide the social services to prevent communities from turning into slums or ghettos, don’t pay taxes themselves.  It’s called triage – you deal with the big problem first: the corporations that cost this state government TENS OF BILLIONS in lost revenue every year.

    And for the record I frequently ride the Blue Line, in the section where we see lots of people like Daniel, between Trade Tech and Long Beach.  (Then again I’m black, and live in South LA which definitely makes me the outlier in the group.)  They bother no one.  I think from time to time I’ve bought candy off them.  My only complaint is once or twice the crap is expired.  But I’ve had the same problem happen to me at Ralphs and Albertsons.

  • “What would you rather Daniel do?”

    Become a libertarian. A good author/economist to start reading is Walter E. Williams. 

  • sahra, I have ridden the Blue Line for pleasure, to visit tourist attractions and visit my friend in Maywood. I’ll also park at Norwalk Station just to ride into Downtown. The LA Times piece does not exaggerate. There is always something to see on the Blue Line. I saw the guy with the glass eye, a catfight on the platforms and a kid throwing up on the platform while someone of a similar age appeared to be choking him. 

    All of the annoyances of public transit, from loud music, disruptive behavior, smells, whatever, are amplified on the Blue Line. It can be difficult to hear your own music on your headphones over 50 Cent blasting out of someone else’s smartphone (and I see a lot of smartphones, blackberries, iPhones, Android, PSP, Nintendo DS’s on the Blue Line. That is some poverty they have there).

    On Metrolink, I have seen disruptive people put off the train, reported by riders, because they have respect for the service and each other and don’t want to ruin a good thing. On the Blue Line, violations of both the rules and respect for others is often tolerated. There is a lack of ownership for this piece of public infrastructure. 

    There is also a lack of a culture of safety around the train. I know not to start crossing the tracks when a train passes because there might be one coming in the opposite direction. It can be a difficult principle to follow because people behind you push forward as soon as the train passes. You sort of have to stand your ground if you wish to be safe. Riders routinely step in front of the train, expecting it to stop for them. It’s like they don’t care that there is a train that wants to leave the station. There is no sense of urgency. I’ll use the Blue Line because it’s just another tool in the toolbox. I don’t expect to get mugged, stabbed or beaten. If you keep to yourself, I don’t think it’s dangerous in the least. But it’s not for people who don’t otherwise want to be there because it can be uncomfortable. I’m there because I *like* the train. Nobody is going to stop me from enjoying a taxpayer subsidized service because they want to shit all over it. But I dislike the culture of the Blue Line and I don’t blame anybody who feels the same way and doesn’t want to ride. You’ll see things on the other lines, of course. But there is something about the Blue Line that is just insane. Even the Green Line isn’t as bad. 

    Explanations that revolve around racism, discrimination, classism, pre-judging, ignorance, whatever excuses liberals/progressives/anti-racists use, are gradually losing their explanatory power as time marches on. These are just the way these places are, despite all the help we try to give them as a society. If there is to be improvement in opportunities, living conditions, wages, etc., it must come from within. 

    Despite being majority Latino, a lot of these areas are black run and they are good at keeping Latinos out of politics. They might even be better than whites because it is not socially acceptable to call them on their bullshit yet. So all the politicians who know the area, know what’s good for the community, should fix it I guess. I’m done with excuses that blame others.

  • “but to show that many of the inhabitants of South LA live a different reality than much of the advocacy community does.”

    All the white male suburban rail fanboys are keeping the hard-working and proud black businessmen like Daniel down by expecting them to do really unreasonable things like follow rules and regulations. 

    I went to one of those transit advocacy meetings once and immediately exclaimed, “There are too many goddamn white people here!” and promptly left. Sure showed them. Signed up for the BRU the next day. 

  • sahra

    ah, @twitter-16109589:disqus  i love that i can count on you to consistently take something i said to an extreme that has little relation to what was intended. it’s all good, though, it keeps me on my toes and i am trying to even more careful in choosing my words. my piece, however, as i’ve said, is not an endorsement of the informal economy. it is a snapshot of what exists from the perspective of someone who participates in it. and the “reality” i’m referring to will be something that i will be exploring more tomorrow, in a piece on four kids who have bikes but can’t ride more than a block or two radius from their homes because of their fears of getting “jacked.” i look forward to chatting with you then…

  • “a piece on four kids who have bikes but can’t ride more than a block or two radius from their homes because of their fears of getting “jacked.””

    It will be interesting to discuss some of the causes and possible solutions to such a serious problem. 

  • Ubrayj02

    @e4d880df81a9a038e06454ce94379045:disqus  – adding toilets adds to “liability”?! What the fuck planet does this perspective come from? If someone wants to sue Metro, they’re going to do it. The presence of bathrooms exposes Metro to legal risks it otherwise would not face?! Really?

    Metro is a service for moving the bags of chemicals we call “humans” to and from places they desire to go. These mobile chemical bags need to excrete waste from time to time. They will do it in elevators and dark corners, or they will do it in a modern sewer system equipped restroom. You decide, either way, the waste will flow.

  • Anonymous
  • The bathrooms would be tagged, desecrated and unusable shortly after they open. It’s not worth the cost or upkeep.

    The best advice is to keep a mental note of transit friendly toilets at businesses. I have my own collection of places to pee, and I keep it a closely guarded secret.

  • Do you suffer from OCD, bro? 

  • Nice article Sahra. The public health in me wants to say that he should’ve been selling fresh fruit (in a germ free kinda way). Or at least peanut M & M’s…the protein! ;-) 

  • Anonymous

    Relevant?

    http://i.imgur.com/ICfPw.jpg 

    I came across this recently and I thought some fat guy was just using EBT to buy a shitload of chocolate. I found it in one of those ‘Your tax dollars at work” threads. It was my girlfriend who said that they might be selling it, which may be the source of the candy you see kids selling in front or supermarkets or people selling on trains. I felt it was an interesting theory. 

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Metro Diary: Every Day He’s Hustlin’

|
The well-dressed and good-looking young man with enormous glasses walked toward where I was standing at the front of the packed Blue Line car, gave me a wink and a smile, then turned around and began delivering his sales pitch for headphones to the passengers. Watching him work the car, I was reminded of how […]

Why I Ride: Connecting with My City

|
I looked at the two scruffy ticket scalpers* crossing Figueroa near the Staples Center and wondered if my eyes deceived me. As I slowed down to get a closer look, I heard one say, “There she goes…” Holy sh*t, I thought, he’s back from the dead! “You remember me?” Big Mike asked, grabbing me in a […]

Filed Under: “Do You Need a Patch?”

|
Six months ago he had been hit by a car on Rodeo Road, the young man told me. He was laid up for seventeen days. Now he had a metal rod in his back. It wasn’t a story that made the news. And it wasn’t a hit-and-run – the driver actually stopped to help the […]

For Many Angelenos, Every Day is Bike-to-Work Day

|
Stop any cyclist in South L.A. and ask them their thoughts on bike-to-work day and I can almost guarantee you’ll get a snort, a dismissive hand wave, and an, “Aw, man, I do this every day!” It certainly describes the reaction I got from most people I spoke with who were riding in the area […]