A Very Reader Christmas: Freeway Sock Salesmen

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The sock salesmen scurry around near this corner almost every day of the year. Usually you'll see three or four standing in the street. It's a good location, and a good product.

"You gotta think just about everybody wears socks," Barnes said. "And the expressway is good. You get a lot of people from out of town. A lot of people buy from me and say, 'I needed socks and I didn't have time to get 'em.'"

But December is their big money-making month. The drivers are shopping for Christmas gifts, and they're generous with tips for men who sell socks on 20-degree afternoons. Barnes once got $50. Another salesman got a C-note.

"Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, that's the best time," Barnes said. "It's like any other business. Last two weeks of the month are really good. Some people got it. They know we're not gonna get rich out here. This isn't Enron."

- Ted Kline, 12/12/02

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