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Oh Great - Squeegee Kids


  08:00:40 pm, by Nimble   , 732 words  
Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, People

Oh Great - Squeegee Kids

I hate squeegee kids.

It wasn't even that I had really met any before. Living in a 19th Avenue apartment and walking to and from work each day, I had my fill of panhandlers. I had my fill of natives trying to pass off funny stories for a buck or two whenever I tried to go anywhere in my neighbourhood. The guy with a sign about his starving kids who turned out not to have kids... at least, not in his care, and my favourite, Mr. "Allergic to Soup" guy who, upon me trying to give a bit of charity with a good meal, refused it with the claim that he was allergic to soup.

I guess I'd just heard all the stories.

So, when I saw a squeegee kid after my wife picked me up from work on her way back from work, I tensed up.

When we encountered another pair of them two blocks later, I knew that all of the stories were true.

One be-bearded squeegee kid spraying cars at the intersection with a big squirt gun and then coming for our car, we waved him away, but he would have none of it. After then swearing at him, he's leaning over on our car to squeegee, I roll down the window and grab his forearm. This gets him quite all riled up and he wants me to step out of the car to fight. Screw that, buddy. He took off when I reached into my pocket for a cell phone to take his picture with.

That wasn't the end of it, though.

Traffic was freakishly slow and they ran up to the next intersection and sprayed and sprayed and attempted to squeegee some more. They got out of the way of the wipers - good thing - but just really went out of their way to be assholes. I managed to get a picture of one of them (the goofy-assed sidekick, not the be-bearded asshole leading the pair), but since the phone decided to save the picture as a slide show (wha?), it might be a while before I can extract it.

It's not even so much the fact that they squeegee that's the problem. They want to offer it - fine. That's not the central problem of these aggressive assholes who jump out in front and attempt to force your hand. I'm sure some of them even get a kick out of the confrontation.

...and no, there's no excuse to be a squeegee kid in Calgary. There's an excuse to be homeless, because the prices of accommodation here have risen nearly 100% in three years, but employees are in extremely high demand, entry level and higher. So, unlike in a recession, this is a conscious choice that they're making.

So yes, they're here, they're in Calgary, and they're aggressive.

Off to check the city by-laws to see if there's anything to be done, but I'll bet it'd be an oblique safety statute at best.

I hate squeegee kids.

UPDATE: There is a statute, specifically related to aggressive squeegee kids, listed here:

"Squeegee kids" are common in many big cities, and have started to appear in select locations in Calgary. Squeegee kids - who often are not kids at all - enter the street when cars are stopped at a traffic light and "offer" to clean windshields. They may start to wash windshields without asking permission and then demand a fee for the "service", whether it was wanted or not. Not only may this result in vehicle damage, the experience can be very intimidating. Furthermore, anyone wandering out among traffic stopped at a busy intersection is not only a danger to himself, but to others.

In 2004 January, Council passed an amendment to the Street Bylaw 20M88 that clearly prohibits this activity. An excerpt from Section 4(2)(b) reads "…no person shall, while on a Roadway or Median Strip offer or perform any service, including cleaning vehicle windshields or washing vehicles to or for any occupant of a vehicle."

If approached by a squeegee kid, clearly and quickly indicate to him or her that you do not want his or her "service." Aggressive behaviour should be reported to the police immediately.

Also, I managed to extract the picture I took of the sidekick (and I believe the main huckster just behind him to the right on the picture), presented to you in its full glory below:

Squeegee Kid

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