This past Sunday was one of those days that vendors pray for: bright, temperate and 24 hours before a federal holiday. Everyone in Boston was out on the Common. Folks got outdoors even if they didn’t have a reason. Getting out after a long winter and feeling the sun on your face is reason enough. And any day that brings the tourists brings the hustlers.
“I got them ice cold drinks right here,” the kid behind the hot dog wagon called out. “Anything you want!”
“How much for a dog?”
“Three.” He was wrapping up a transaction with an earlier customer while answering me.
I handed him some bills. “And a bottle of water.”
“Go ahead and take it out of the cooler. Ice cold drinks! I got ‘em!”
A father and his seven-year-old daughter were studying the drinks on display while the counterman served up my dog. “What flavor is this?” He fingered a bottle of Gatorade’s newest offering – G2, blue like the afternoon – with suspicion. The kid picked it up and examined the front label. “Ten and five is your change,” he told me. To the father: ” ‘Frost’. Hot dogs! Water, soda, sports drinks, ice cold!”
They tried to hustle me at the Gamestop, too. I picked up used copies of Dead Rising and Soul Caliber IV. “Are you familiar with our discount card?” the counterman asked. “It gives you 10% off all used games. Not only that, but you accrue points with every purchase that you can trade in for rewards. Normally it’s $15 for a one-year membership, but today only I can sign you up for $11.88. And that 10% would be applied to today’s purchase. Is this something you’d be interested in?”
I shook my head.
“Don’t buy a lot of used games?” he asked, like he were making conversation with a stranger. Not $118 worth. But, as I’ve said before, I never mind when someone tries the hustle on me.