Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Metro's Underground Economy


Metro has, from time to time, considered putting retail outlets in some of the stations in an effort to make money. So far, the plans have all been shot down, but there is still an economy, of sorts, centered around Metro.

There are the flower guys, the souvenir guys, the hot dog stands, the buskers, the panhandlers, the drug dealing bus operators,
the "free" newspapers, the newspaper machines, and who knows what else?

One reader commented that someone tried to sell them a toothbrush on a bus, and @richdevans made the following tweet recently: "Dude just tried to sell me a Hot Pocket* on the Green Line."

Wonder how they warmed it up.

Anyway, that takes the cake so far. Have you had any interesting dealings with Metro's underground economy? What are some of the scams you've encountered?

*Unsuck DC Metro does not endorse the consumption of Hot Pockets under any circumstances.

Other items:
Man jumps from Shady Grove Metro garage (Examiner)
Metro notification process under review because they screwed up (Examiner)
Metro defends not reporting accident (WTOP)

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Toothpaste, roses, watches

Anonymous said...

For anyone at L'Enfant there's usually a very sad Louis Armstrong-esque trumpet player and some flower people.

Anonymous said...

A few months back there was some dude on the orange line (moving from car to car at every stop) hawking perfumes etc.

Anonymous said...

Back when the govt used to hand out the transit benefits in the form of farecards, there was a HUGE black market for those. You could by them on Craigslist even. Now that it's all Smartrip, I guess that no longer happens.

Anonymous said...

Once had a metrobus operator give me Jehovah's witness pamphlet

Anonymous said...

Nearly every day somebody on the green line selling "perfumes, body oils, incense" from car to car. Also, saw a guy hawking his own urban lit books (I have a feeling they were the African American-centered bodice-ripper variety.) Always an adventure...

Anonymous said...

I never get offered to buy anything! bummer.

Anonymous said...

Once, on the green line from Gallery Place to Archives, some random guy in his mid '20s stood near me and said, in a near-whisper "DVDs, five dollars". I ignored him, and he never said another word.

Anonymous said...

Insert deep James Earl Jones voice "excuse me ladies and Gentleman... Yada yada yada.... Street Sense... Yada yada yada" That crap scares me sometimes awaking me out of my metro riding daze. LOL!

Joanne said...

Yep, that Street Sense guy (on the Orange Line is usually where I run into him) is usually good for sudden awakening/scaring the crap out of you.

Anonymous said...

I hate seen:

The Street Sense guy, twice, both times on the blue line between Benning Road and Stadium-Armory

This guy on the lower level of Metro Center with a bunch of blinking lights (almost impossible to miss him)

The guy who goes from car to car selling stuff, what he does is hold this big rack in front of him with perfumes/oils/lotions while walking through the car and mumbling "CDs... movies... body lotions..." Looks totally silly to watch this in person.

I've also seen someone, I'm almost certain it's the same guy, holding a binder with a picture of the Boys & Girls' Club on the front... you know what comes next: "Can I ask for a small donation?"

I've also seen kids doing that at Van Ness-UDC, either right outside the station (for unavoidable harassment) or at the bottom of the street escalator...

Anonymous said...

sorry, I HAVE seen

but that doesn't mean the donation guys don't get on my nerves...

Anonymous said...

a group of loud, obnoxious, high school kids on a green line train proffering a visibly man-handled, laminated sheet asking for a "donation" to support their "school basketball team."

when turned down by a man they approached, the snotty brats got loud and started mocking the man and making fun of him...for the duration of multiple stops.

(thankfully the adult was actually a gentleman and didn't engage the kids. an oddity.)

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