In yesterday’s links roundup, I shared the story of Joe Ades, the gentleman grafter. Ades sells vegetable peelers on the streets of New York City by day, but goes home at night to a three-bedroom Park Avenue apartment. According to a 2006 Vanity Fair profile:
Then it’s out again for an early dinner in a style unheard of in London Labour. Six nights a week, accompanied by [his wife], he hits some of the biggest-name restaurants in town…He never has trouble getting a table.
GRS-reader Chris wrote, “I really enjoyed the piece about the “Gentleman Grafter” selling potato peelers. I always like hearing about interesting ways people have made a lot of money outside of the usual mainstream routes.” I do too.
Chris went further, though, and dug up a video of Ades on YouTube, and I found myself watching all the footage I could locate. (It’s amazing how many people have uploaded video of this guy.) I love his patter, which is exactly the same every single time. Ades has his pitch down to a science.
This four-minute video is my favorite because it shows people buying the peelers at the end of his spiel:
How can he make money selling vegetable peelers for five bucks a piece? He sells a lot of them. Ades may be the best salesman in the world. Who needs a $5 peeler? Yet he manages to convince several people every time he makes his pitch, and because of that, he earns a good living. (From this very small sample size of one, I’d guess Ades is making about $200/hour.)
Note: I never would have heard of this guy except that Jason Kottke posted about him yesterday.
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