Monday, September 3, 2012

Budding entrepreneurs profit (sort of) from the 99 Percent

Posted By on Mon, Sep 3, 2012 at 8:56 AM

At least two capitalists profited from the sweat of the 99 Percent on Sunday. Thirteen-year-old Otto Thornburg and his younger brother, Emmett, hauled a cooler to Fourth Street near Frazier Park, where they sold bottled water and Gatorade as protestors, roasting in 90-degree heat, began their trek toward Uptown.

Mikey Stewart, left, and Thomas Watts of the band The Dollar Menu Boys.
  • George Brady
  • Mikey Stewart, left, and Thomas Watts of the band The Dollar Menu Boys.

What gave Otto the idea? The market demanded it.

"It seems like common sense. A lot of people were walking by our house. We should sell them water.”

He said business was good but — like the 1 percent - isn’t a big fan of transparency.

“If you’re going to ask anymore questions, I’m going to ask you to buy some Gatorade.” Our interview came to an abrupt end when I couldn't produce the necessary $2.

Things were less lucrative for two other pairs of young entrepreneurs that had set up shop along the Coalition to March on Wall Street South's three-mile route. The problem was pricing for Anwar Baldwin, 14, and his cousin, who had been hired by a friend’s dad to hawk buttons, miniature flags and towels.

“Some people think the towels are overpriced,” Baldwin said. “They’re $10. We don’t make the price.”

Though the protestors had already passed, the cousins had managed to sell just one $5 button, bad news since they get commission on top of their minimum-wage base.

Still, that was five times what street musicians Thomas Watts, 17, and Mikey Stewart, 16, earned playing jazz and rock. The opened guitar case in front of the Providence Day School students bore a single dollar bill, crumpled and threatening to blow away in the wind.

“We’re hoping to get a least one more dollar so we can hit the McDonald’s dollar menu,” Stewart (guitar) said.

They were impressed with the Coalition’s turnout.

“We’re not really political, we’re just here to play music,” Watts (trumpet) said. “I just saw a reporter from NPR. I was like 'whaaat?’”

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