On my way to work, I pass a busy intersection known for its hobo windscreen washers. It’s not known for the quality of their washwork, but because of the number of bums washing windows. Now, whether they’re pedestrians or people in cars, most people get annoyed by these dirty, smelly hobos and their squeegees. They see drunk and stoned losers, unemployed, unwashed and foul-mouthed. I, on the other hand, see something else. I see potential. I see opportunity. I see cold cash money, baby.
In the mid nineties, if you said there was big money to be made on the Internet, you would have been laughed at, or called a nerd, or both. But now, those laughing stock nerds are filthy rich, and probably have giant swimming pools filled with cash. When I saw these hobos washing windows and hoping for small change, I saw an opportunity for enterprise. There is money to be made in the homeless sector.
I quickly began drafting up a business model. I had noticed that whenever these homeless people begged for money, the general response was to ignore them, or lie, saying you don’t have any spare cash, on the idea that “they’d just spend it on booze or glue, anyway”. That is how I found out exactly what these bums wanted. I just needed to figure out how to get them what they wanted, so they would work for me.
If they were spending all their earnings on alcohol to drink, and solvents to sniff, then there would be no money in it for me. That is, unless I could get them what they wanted, and make a profit. Their problem is that they’re buying their goods from retailers, with ridiculous mark-ups. To make any profit, they’d need to get their stuff from a wholesaler, but no wholesaler would sell to a filthy drunk man with body odour and no shoes. To use a wholesaler, they’d need someone more refined. A man in the know. And this is where I come in.
If I could start a company of hobo windscreen washers, I could convince them to give me all their earnings, and in return, I would supply them with all the alcohol and glue they could ever want. This would make me easy money, while improving worker morale, but I’d still need to up the productivity and revenue to make this endeavour worth my time.
As it stands now, the hobo sector has a few problems, and these problems hold it back from making real money. Firstly, their homeless signs are often almost completely illegible. They’re impersonal and bland. I could supply them with well written signs, with touches of humour. I could give them signs that people would actually want to stop and read. Secondly, their working spots are much too concentrated, and they have too many workers wasting time working the same intersections. I could disperse them, making plans that would spread them out into new areas. Then I could make them more approachable by giving them nametags, with cutesy nicknames like ‘Mr Stinky’, ‘Squeegee McGee’ and ‘King Coughalot’. Also, due to workers dying due to health problems related to excessive drinking and solvent poisoning, the company would have a very high employee turnover, meaning the bums wouldn’t stay around long enough to climb any corporate ladder and expect more from their employment. Soon, these bums could be pulling in serious money for me, from all over the country.
I’m going to take these pesky, dirty window washing hobos and bring them together as a rusty machine, and then I’m going to oil that rusty machine to get it working perfectly, and all for me. I’m talking about the bums you ignore in the streets, the ones you pretend not to hear. While you wind your windows up in their faces, or turn on your windscreen wipers to deter them, they’re going to be evolving. They’ll become the hobos that came together as a company. A company that defined an industry. An industry that will take over a city. A city that will work for me. You may laugh at me now, but in a few years, I’ll be going for a cool dip in my swimming pool of cash, and you won’t be invited.
You heard it here first. I’m taking this one to the bank.