Tuesday, November 07, 2006

'Field notes from the underground'

Just read this article from the Boston Globe, about America's underground economy.

ON A COLD FEBRUARY DAY on Chicago's South Side, two men are having an argument in a church parking lot. One is a local hustler who fixes cars and does his work wherever he can. This month, he is paying a local pastor to use the church parking lot. The week before, he paid a nearby store owner to work in a back alley.
On this day, he has just fixed the car of a local resident who is not happy. His customer thought the cost to repair his rusty 1986 Cutlass Ciera was $20, but the mechanic insists that his estimate was $30.
The dispute quickly gets out of hand. The mechanic refuses to return the keys to the car. The car's owner throws the mechanic to the ground, punches him repeatedly, takes the keys and drives away in his repaired vehicle. Bloodied and angry, the mechanic pursues him.
The mechanic makes his way to his customer's apartment building, where he begins yelling for him to come out. In full view of the neighbors, as well as the local block club president, he grows frustrated, breaks into the apartment, and walks out with a TV and VCR in hand. He utters a profanity, shouts "You better believe I get my money," and marches off.
It's interesting to hear how the conflict is resolved.

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