Thursday, July 19, 2007

Snake Oil

Last week at Hamburg, Ar. was a modern day gypsy. He was parked at a spot that I wouldn't pull my truck in and talk to him. Today he had moved a few miles up the road to Star City and I was able to stop and talk.

We remember the gypsies in the movies selling goods out of their wagons.

"JIM" was closing shop for the day when I stopped. He already had put most of his merchandise away.

He sells blankets, knives, cowboy hats, belt buckles, and leather belts that he will engrave with you name.

Jim is 71 years old and has been doing this since he retired at 62. He has a home in Alabama but travels most of the year. Normally he stays in one town about a week before moving on. After about a week his fresh water tank is empty and his waste tanks are full. He then moves up the road about 30 miles or until he can find a new spot on the main road.

Most smaller town do not require a permit, but if they do, he just moves along to a town that does not.

When he runs low on things to sell, he just orders from a company in Houston, Tx. and they ship to him where ever he might be.

Some towns might buy more of one item than another but he says he can count on about 100 leather belts every month.

He used to "flea market" but likes just moving around a lot better. Sets up to sell when he wants and finds people more than willing to stand around and visit. If the weather is not cooperating, he just stays "closed" and sits inside and watches his satellite tv.

He carries this scooter on the front of his c-class rv to do his running around.

A rather delighful man living like he wants to live. He is heading for Oklahoma, says he should be there in a couple of months.


Tracy said...

That's pretty cool, Squire. Another possibility would be buying that stuff in Mexican border towns; you can get it pretty cheap there. Of course you would have to actually like going to those areas, to make it worthwhile.

Annie said...

It would be interesting to know how many people live like this. It's a lifestyle I've not thought about before. Rather romantic in a way, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

I've always been fascinated by the idea of a portable business. I attended some Escapees gatherings and met people who were earning money on the road in a variety of ways. The Escapees RV Club,, has Escapades (campouts) twice a year (once in the West and once in Ohio, last time I checked. One natural product for me is my books. I'm co-author of 2 books for parents. In the past I've set up some speaking engagements in places I planned to visit. I enjoyed it, but it ties me down to a rigid schedule. I can't get much PR unless I plan it at least a month in advance. Another author, though, Joei Carlton, just goes on the road and finds a place (farmer's market, Hastings store, grocery store, whatever) that she sets up wherever she decides to stop in her travels. I plan to try it her way. However, she has about 6 or 8 books, which ups the amount of money people tend to spend. I'd like to find other compatible products. Happy trails, Judith Waite Allee, co-author "Educational Travel on a Shoestring" and "Homeschooling on a Shoestring."


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