Sunday, June 03, 2012

DTSS's Pint-Sized Candy Hustlers

While the practice has been commonplace for years, it is only in recent weeks that I have started to notice a pronounced increase in the number of kids hustling candy bars out of plastic bins in and around DTSS. I generally see these candy-pushers around the Metro entrance, but their territory now seems to have extended to include Ellsworth Drive.

Usually the kids look to be around middle school age, but as I was walking down Ellsworth a couple weeks back, I was solicited by a child who stood around waist-height and couldn't have been older than five. He had trouble getting the hard-sell speech down, simply looking up at me and mumbling something about "a donation" without specifying exactly what this purported donation would go toward. He wasn't big enough to lift the bin himself, so some thoughtful adult had rigged up a dolly so the kid could pull his candy supply along behind him. The whole situation was absolutely Dickensian.

How the hell this is being allowed to happen right under the noses of the DTSS security guards and the MoCo police officers who patrol the area is completely beyond me. In the past, DTSS security has been vigilant in its prevention of photography and breastfeeding, but somehow kindergartners are free to hustle candy bars in front of the Starbucks?

Never mind the lack of whatever license they probably need to sell food on the street - these kids were way to young to be doing this. If they were teenagers and doing this as part of a legit or even semi-legit job/"fundraising effort" for which they were compensated fairly, that's one thing, but these kids were barely just more than babies and are very likely being exploited by unscrupulous adults.

To be fair, maybe DTSS security and/or the police have done something to curtail these candy crews in the past couple of weeks. I was out of town for awhile and I didn't notice any of them out tonight, for what that's worth. If not, I don't know why they have been allowing this to continue.



27 comments:

naturalmel said...

They caught me at the GA Ave. Wells Fargo yesterday morning in the ATM room. If I wasn't in a rush I would have said something to the "chaperone".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing attention to this issue. I feel so terrible for these kids, who are also quite active outside the NOAA building on East-West Hwy. on weekday afternoons.

Angelina said...

Wow. I love this blog, but this is perhaps one of the most informative posts I have ever read here. I am consistently confronted by these kids when I get off the metro (on the side across the street from the bus depot disaster.) I can't believe that abc news article.

Anonymous said...

I have seen the candy sellers on the sidewalk outside of the apartments next to Hampton Inn on Colesville. I always assumed the candy selling was a scam; however, I never imagined there would be an abc news article about it.

Anonymous said...

I haven't been confronted by these kids like others have. However, one morning I saw the kids being let loose by a guy in a run down van in the Safeway parking lot. Made me wonder who got paid more, kid or adult. Looked like a scene from "Slumdog Millionaire."

Anonymous said...

Something tells me these little hustlers are somehow linked to the quarter guy.

Anonymous said...

You mean the "Excuse Me, Can You Spare a Quarter" guy.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't he say "Could you possibly spare a quarter?" I guess it doesn't matter, he's really annoying and aiming too low. But he is a little better than the Asian guy who doesn't even have cup. Isn't that panhandling 101?

Terry in Silver Spring said...

I've seen them, as well. They remind me of the kids in Mexico who follow you saying "chicle, chicle" and try to sell you gum.

Anonymous said...

The "can you help me out with a quarter please?" guy lives in Hillandale. I used to fairly consistently see him on my bus trip up 29. He has a brother and a mother, and they are all have issues. I am not sure if the quarter business is booming or what, but he often pulls out a huge wad of cash and handfuls of keno tickets.

Anonymous said...

I see these kids all the time and they are usually unaccompanied from what I can tell. They sometimes hang around the K street entrance of Farragut North and then I run into some again when I exit in Silver Spring. I feel pretty bad for them, too. They usually look tired and sweaty from of carrying around those big plastic boxes. But, as annoying as they are, they come nowhere near those high school age punk kids who come out in the springtime and harass people on the metro for donations for “soccer uniforms.” I saw a group pick on an old handicap couple because they wouldn’t donate, once. It was pretty frightening. Wish the cops would do a better job of cracking down on this type of behavior. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the third world.

Anonymous said...

"Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the third world" -- guess what...you are.

Anonymous said...

"guess what...you are."

Is that some sort of abstract observation about the human condition in the context of the greater universe that's going over my head or are you just a douchebag complaining about impoverished black DC kids ruining your pristine MoCo? I wonder....

P.S. I imagine the cops and private security try and curtail this as much as possible, but what really can they do other than tell the kids (usually teens) to "move along." It's not like they can or should be taken into custody for trying to sell candy bars (exception being if they're aggressive). I still find the Greenpeace ppl to be much more of a nuisance.

Anonymous said...

P.P.S. this is a self correcting problem if you just DON'T GIVE THESE KIDS/TEENS MONEY. If you see someone giving them money, explain that it's just a scam. Some people (apparently) really are dumb enough or have enough white guilt that they feed the cycle.

Anonymous said...

I called MoCo police twice about the children near the Metro exit. They seemed more concerned about whether the kids were on/off Metro property. I get that the question was one of jurisdiction, but should that matter when I'm describing the children as hardly school age, and it's past dark and cold out? The heavy selling started this past winter, and these kids were out late with no jackets, etc., and the "adult" nearby barely looked of age himself. Seems like something not only MoCo but the state should be interested in investigating, and a case of pretty low-hanging fruit since these activities are so blatant.

Anonymous said...

"White guilt"? I'm not sure why race was brought into this at all. I've seen people of all colors stop and buy those damned cookies.

As for the non-profit folks, I presume they are being paid a fair wage so it doesn’t cause me as much concern as the kids.

Anonymous said...

State Attorney for MoCo:

240-777-7300 or states.attorney@montgomerycountymd.gov

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/saotmpl.asp?url=/content/sao/index.asp

Anonymous said...

Yeah these kids hit me up the other day too. I usually sidestep them fast enough, but I made eye contact. Didn't slow my pace to hear the speech, but it was very poorly delivered: "mumble please donation mumble"...

Aggression in the comments left on this post is weird.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh, looks like some guilty hippie progressives have made a regular post about race yet AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

"guilty hippie progressives have made a regular post about race yet AGAIN."

Illiterate much? If you're going to troll, at least understand what you're talkin' about. Trollin 101, yo.

Anonymous said...

Sensitive much? yes you are. grow a thicker skin.

yo.

(nice personal insult as per usual around here)

Anonymous said...

on to more important things other than 5th grade personal insults,did anyone see that a guy was shot in the head and killed this week in the Veridian on East West?

http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/18734146/man-found-fatally-shot-inside-silver-spring-apartment

RoseAG said...

They've been at the Colesville Rd. Metro exit for several months. I assumed they were with some youth group.

Living in an inner neighborhood we seem to be magnets for all kinds of groups and causes going door-to-door so I'm fairly hard-hearted but I have bought a couple of boxes of cookies from them.

jowdjbrown said...

I generally see these candy-pushers around the Metro entrance, but their territory now seems to have extended to include Ellsworth Drive.blue candy

jowdjbrown said...

The lovely couple had their engagement at the Gardens on Forest. Off course the best theme to celebrate in this gorgeous venue was Great Gatsby. yellow candy

Richard C. Lambert said...

I've been saving this post for a hot day when all I want to do is jump in some watercandy in bulk

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