As the summer approaches the Mission is bound to have even more “paleteros”. I recently caught up with one of the many that abound in the Mission and he gave me the inside scoop about the business.
Apparently there are several companies, mostly from Oakland, that work in the Mission. You can distinguish them by the color of their wheels. As far as I could tell there are at least three colors: red, blue and yellow. He also told me that they are free to walk around anywhere they want, however, everyone has their own “parks and schools,” and they are pretty good about respecting each other’s turf.
He also said that his “boss” is pretty good at helping them out. In his case he said that he pays him $2 for rent to stay at his house and pays no electricity or water. This is about $60 a month. He also pays to rent the car and and gets paid a commission for every Popsicle he sells. Sound an awful lot like the stories of the strawberry street vendors, the “Freseros.”
His only complaint is that there are increasingly more and more “paleteros”, which makes competition fierce.
Last year, reporter Rosa Ramirez found a woman Paletera who said she gets 40 cents of every dollar she makes.
Below is a slideshow I made for my blog: Missionmultimedia.wordpress.com