Avoid An Achy-Breaky Back, Pay Someone To Shovel

Washington D.C. isn't accustomed to a lot of snow. For some, the blizzard presented a new way to make money. Men and Women could be seen walking around the nation's capital with shovels, trying to make some money from "Snowmageddon."

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ALLISON KEYES: This is Allison Keyes in Washington, D.C., where private property owners are supposed to clear snow from their sidewalks within eight hours of the end of the snowfall. Its also where eager entrepreneurs like Coleman Bonea(ph) are pocketing fat profits, charging people in the District $50 a pop to shovel their cars out of what seems like tons of snow.

Mr. COLEMAN BONEA: The last two days, around 25 cars.

(Soundbite of car engine)

KEYES: Bonea and his partner, carrying shiny new shovels, are in high demand in this neighborhood with big houses and steep hills made treacherous by the snow.

Mr. BONEA: We walk over here, got people say, Hey, hey. Yeah, but theres a lot of people that needed help over here.

KEYES: The two men are splitting their profits down the middle. And they say theyre going to spend it on bills - and a few beers. But Bonea says Snowmageddon has been quite the windfall.

Mr. BONEA: Oh, yeah. I hope it snow next week, more...

KEYES: All over the city, whether you are above ground or on the subway system, men and women can be seen carrying shovels, headed to neighborhoods where they hope to make some cash in this ugly economy. Waiting for a train in Southwest Washington, Jo Adams(ph) was psyched about the snow.

Ms. JO ADAMS: Im going up here to my brothers house - and so he got a little something to eat. Then were going to make some money in this mess.

KEYES: Adams is excited about the prospect of work.

Ms. ADAMS: I'm gonna smile through this whole thing 'cause see, Im jobless.see, Im jobless. This is my job coming up. So its a good thing for me.

KEYES: A few blocks from the Metro station, Aster Turner(ph) is wishing she had some help digging out.

Ms. ASTER TURNER: I will welcome any hands walking around with shovels, offering their services today.

KEYES: Standing just 4 feet, 11 inches tall, Turner is manhandling the snow away from her Nissan truck. But unlike your average driver in Boston or Chicago after a snowstorm, she has nothing to save the space she spent hours shoveling clean.

Ms. TURNER: I dont have a comfy chair or cone or...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. TURNER: ...do not park here because I worked really hard on this sign.

KEYES: Even if she did, it wouldnt help in D.C. where you cannot reserve your newly cleaned space.

Allison Keyes, NPR News, Washington.

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