Food carts are everywhere in New York City. Hot dogs, coffee, halal, mangoes … The list goes on. There are 20,000 street vendors fueling the city daily, yet …
There is no way this woman makes enough from the amount of work she puts in. Three days of work to make her tamales and maybe she doesn’t even sell them all?! It’s amazing she’s advocating for herself but also super shitty the risk it poses to her as an undocumented immigrant — she says “I’m not scared anymore” but I’m scared on her behalf. It is infuriating that America can’t see the value this woman brings to the community and grant her legal status to open up more opportunities to someone with this kind of work ethic.
Our approach to immigration is ridiculous. The woman in this video was an accountant in Mexico but couldn’t find a job in the US, so now she illegally sells homemade tamales. Here in Seattle, I know an Indian woman whose husband got a tech job but her visa doesn’t allow her to work even though she is *also* a computer scientist. The Egyptian man whose family owns the gas station downtown is an engineer but wasn’t able to transfer his license here, so he works the counter at a quickie mart. What. The. Fuck. How does it benefit the US to deny these skilled people the ability to work in their fields?
We watched the whole On the Job series and there are a bunch of dedicated entrepreneurs running awesome businesses that support their community — and as an outsider feel totally unsustainable because everything relies on them and the help their families can give. It is exhausting watching them. They have the hustle, but I wish they could get some success without having to burn themselves out.
A guy running a bodega has become TikTok famous and people stop in from around the country to enjoy his friendly service: they can hand over any random ingredient in the shop and ask him to make it “ocky style” and he develops an original sandwich recipe on the fly. Crumbling chips or candy onto the sandwich, using doughnuts as the bread, concocting something delicious and unique for over 100 customers a day — plus making hundreds of standard sandwiches — plus he restocks the shelves and runs the cash register if his ten year old nephew can’t be spared to work it.
A woman running a pop-up Instagram restaurant gets her cousin to drive up from Pennsylvania to help each weekend, and a volunteer delivers the food. She has a full-time job and spends her “free time” running the food business. Her expenses have skyrocketed with inflation — mushrooms went from $14 to $20 — but she wants to keep it affordable. Please tell me you are making money at least.