Lileks has a visit to a fireworks stand up on buzz.mn which reminded
me of my unsuccessful stint working on a fireworks stand. One christmas
break in school I was only living off of my air national guard monthy
paycheck and GI bill ($250 total) Since school was closed my student job was closed
too, and it turns out that if you don't work they deliver no checks.
I needed some beer and food money, so I called a number on a flyer
for "do you want to make money" and it turned out to be a fireworks
stand down in Prairieville, which is about 30 minutes south of LSU and
is only otherwise famous for the titty bar 'Suthern Cumforts'.
I went down and interviewed (I don't remember if I wore a tie) and
I got the job, with $100 guarenteed plus a possible bonus if I sold well
working the two weekends before new year's eve.
Since the main determinant of success seemed to be whether you were
crusty, tattoed and smoked half a carton of marlboro reds in the box per day, I was
not successful. The crusty old carnies had no problem lying to kids,
mothers with kids, parents with grandparents holding american flags,
they would say anything to anyone to push the fireworks off the shelves.
My sales pitch ended with me telling the truth of what I thought of each
item, eg, that tank just fizzes and pops, it really doesn't do much.
apparently 20 year old catholic boys don't do well at that sort of thing...
(I'd probably sell the shit out that stuff now). The second weekend ended
and I had worked 4 - 12 hour days for total earnings of a crisp new $100 bill...
even with my shitty sales techniques I had sold at least $2k worth of
crap, I felt like I had been robbed.
What made up for my being violated was the owner let us shoot off about $5k worth of stuff before we closed down, which was certainly the best fireworks show I've ever participated
in. The cannons boomed, rockets swished and M-80's banged as we fought
our own little war, with the only witnesses being the traffic on Airline Highway
and the titty dancers from Suthern Kumforts.