Genuine US currency

The shop that I apprenticed in was in a rather colorful neighborhood. We had prostitutes who hung out in front of the shop (not directly in front, they didn’t want to bother our business) and we got regular visits from the friendly neighborhood boosters.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with boosters – they are kind of a specialty thief. They steal things and then they bring them door to door (or bar to bar) and resell these items. We had the regular roster of boosters who would stop by the shop with their specialty wares. One guy specialized in movies (VHS, this was a long time ago), there was a couple that brought in meat (yes, you read that right, meat) and a whole lot of them selling gold.

The woman that I worked with often bought gold from them. She had a nifty little kit for testing the karat of the gold and was pretty good at bargaining. I don’t know what she did with the gold that she bought. I just liked watching the whole process of the testing and the haggling. That was about as far as it went. Personally I never bought any gold from any of them and would have no idea how to test it or haggle.

So when I wound up with my own shop a few years later – I did everything that I could to discourage the boosters from coming in. If they stopped in selling whatever we would just tell them that we weren’t interested and they would wander on off. No big deal.

Enter the salesman.

Now as I said, I have seen a lot of boosters in my day. I have never ever seen anything like this guy. I don’t know if he was trying to live up to his movie counterpart image or what. He strolls in literally wearing a long trench coat. He has the seedy sideways grin. He announces his presence the second that he walks in the door.

“How are y’all doing this afternoon?” loud and brash and immediately the center of attention. All he is missing is a stage to step up onto. I don’t remember how the sales pitch started or where it went exactly, but in pretty short order he had stepped up to a girl at the counter, flashed his super sleazy grin and (I shit you not) opened up one side of his trench coat to reveal a whole “rack” of gold hanging inside of his jacket. He begins to extoll the virtues of his wares.

I try to explain to him that he needs to go.

He is having none of this. He is in the middle of a sales pitch. There is no way that we could possibly say no to the offer that he has for us. I insist that it is indeed not only possible, but inevitable and he needs to go now. By this point I have gotten up and the girl he had originally cornered has made good her escape to another area of the shop.

We don’t need any gold I explain again. No, no, no he insists. You want THIS gold. This is amazing stuff. This is “gen-you-wine” U S currency! This is the good stuff. This is not an opportunity to be missed. I suggest that if it is genuine US currency then he should take it directly to the bank. He is appalled that I would consider passing up this outstanding offer.

By now I am getting ready to physically remove him from the shop and as I step closer he is backing towards other people and moving through the shop. Artful dodging as it were.

He gets most of the way through the shop and he turns to one of the other artists.

“How about you? Can I interest you in one of these fine watches?”

Having my back, the artist replies ” You heard her… you have to go.”

Not to be cut short in his sales pitch “I don’t care what the Ho has to say, I’m talking to you.”

Sticking up for me in his finest tattoo shop fashion the artist comes back with ” Well, the Ho owns the joint, so you gotta go!” Then grins at me with the biggest proudest ‘didn’t I do good’ sort of grin that I can’t even give him a hard time about also referring to me as the Ho.

Even Mr Salesman is taken aback by this comment enough for me to walk him to the door without further comment.

I go back to my client and no one buys any gold that day.

You can’t make this shit up.



The photo at the top of this post was taken a long time ago by Mike Zappia for my submission to the Women Tattoo Artists book.

Zappia Photography

~ by justteejay on December 8, 2010.

One Response to “Genuine US currency”

  1. I can always use a good laugh this time of the year! Thank you for the last few posts 🙂

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