1974 San Diego guide to busiest corners

Where to sell apples

  • Image by Bob Eckert

So it’s come to that, has it? Empty pockets, shattered piggy bank, no patron, no job. Well, wait. Step back inside that window. Stick out your thumb and pull out an apple. That is, hitch a ride to Julian; work in an orchard, for apples; take your pay home to San Diego, and you’re in business. Selling apples. It’s a tradition as American as Great Depression. Now that you have made the initial investment, this guide will help you by pointing out the ten best corners in town for selling apples. In order of excellence:

Horton Plaza, comer Fourth & Broadway, S.W. This corner is perfect because of its captive audience. Everyone hangs around waiting for a bus (or a ship to come in, or a prince) to come. Potential customers include some of almost every group of San Diegans, all in fact except those who can afford not to take the bus. Knowledge of Spanish would be an extra added attraction, a persuasive plus. The central fountain is handy for washing apples and disposing of cores. Remember, free apples surrendered to loitering police are tax deductible. Occupational hazards of this location include rash resulting from compulsory ear and nose plugs to protect seller from bus pollution. Because most customers move indoors to the nearby movies and bookstores, on Friday nights, weekends will be slow at Horton Plaza.

On the other hand, the corner of Silverado and Girard in La Jolla is another good weekday apple pushing corner. Steady parade of business people and shoppers. You might want to buy a La Jolla townie outfit (men-conservative navy or grey suit; w omen-conservative pantsuit) with your first year’s profit in order to blend in with the costume of this corner. Tourist traffic starts down the street at Prospect & Girard. Remember to charge more for apples in La Jolla. Overpriced items move faster here. (Other notes: purposeful quick walking, no loitering; police and metermaids busy; absolutely dead at night)

30th and University in North Park is a slower paced corner. Bus stops on the southeast and northwest corners mean stationary customers and a bench for you. A shopping area. And when a potential customer already has his mind bent on spending money, the rest is applesauce. This spot might be saved for early morning or late afternoon selling as there are no shade trees, (other notes: people of all ages, both sexes, unfashionably dressed.

Admittedly, 54th and El Cajon in East San Diego is not the pleasantest corner on which to make your fortune. But the very width of the streets, that gives the coldness to the spot, works in favor of the apple seller. Foot traffic charges across the wide streets— people dread being caught in the middle. They arrive on the curb exhausted, in need of a brief rest, long enough for your pitch. Another built-in advantage is that the traffic lights are so long as to confine people to your comer for what seems to them like minutes.

Fifth and University, Hillcrest demands a special banner for the apple seller, “An apple a day. . .” Most of the passersby are walking to and from appointments with their doctors. Don’t expect to sell the apples to doctors themselves. A slow-paced, very elderly crowd, dressed old-fashioned, mixed with people of all ages. The south side is busier.

Sixth and Laurel at Balboa Park offers a variety in apple buying clientele second only to those of Horton Plaza (see #1). Cyclists, lawn bowlers, tourists & townies, airplane pilots, strollers, are all within your reach at Balboa Park. The area is relatively fuzz free except for the peaches on trees too sprayed to be of use. Note the children’s market, not to be ignored by an apple seller. The weather here is the finest among the ten spots.

Montezuma and College, as the name suggests is indeed a corner with built-in spring, winter, summer vacations. Seasonal apple selling to seasonal apple polishers. Your customers will be nearly the same age. This is the hottest location of the ten but should be avoided on weekends as well as during school vacations.

Newport and Bacon in O.B., one block from the surfin’ Pacific, is the corner for apple sellers who like an ocean view. Many of San Diego’s hard-core career loiterers move across this intersection. People of all ages and in a variety of costumes. Police are never far away. The four way stop and its ambiguities provide many opportunities to sell an apple to Alphonse. Biggest competition will be the ice cream parlour half a block away. If business is good, create a sideline of cigarette papers; if business is bad, you can go fishin’.

Mission Bay Dr. at Mission Blvd. also offers an ocean view. This is a weekend spot which you can fit in with weekdays at Fourth & Broadway or at Silverado & Girard. Over 40 hours worked a week, remember means you charge time and a half per apple. At this end of M.B., the crowd is young. Let them ride the roller coaster BEFORE they eat the apple. (Stand on the corner opposite coaster, west side)

Twiggs and San Diego Avenue, in Old Town, least we forget the tourist dollar. There’s nothing much old in Old Town. An apple seller would provide the needed touch of nostalgia here. Standing by one of the churches might arouse some sympathy by association. Remember, tourists travel in groups; so apples in Old Town are usually sold in bunches.

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