A company of “professional waiters” waiting instead of their customers to get tickets to Broadway shows or baseball games has been turned into long queues in front of Covid test centers.
In chalk, they proudly write the time of arrival. “First in line, at 05.45”, shares, for example, the Twitter account Same Ole Line Dudes, a small New York company “of professional waiters”. Employees get paid to stand in line for other people. National Public Radio (NPR) Website tells how they did a very profitable business of standing in line for a PCR test.
7:51 38 ° #linedudes changed 1st place in the row @CityMD W14th location for #covidtesting loyal client (6 years!) They skipped 18 people on arrival and will only wait 10 minutes to be tested when the doors open. All for $ 60. Order sitting and #skipthesidewalk! #peopleloveusonyelp assign! pic.twitter.com/5GMuA6FaEa
– Same Ole Line Dudes ™ (@sold_inc) December 29, 2020
Robert Samuel, the creator of Same Ole Line Dudes, has reorganized his activity, shaken by the pandemic. Usually, the “guys in line”, as they call themselves, wait in front of Broadway shows, sporting events or even the Apple Stores when new iPhones are released. But with the confinement imposed on New York, they no longer had the slightest line to line up. Their happiness came from the influx of test sites for Covid-19. It often takes more than four hours in line before you can be tested.
$ 60 for a two hour wait
The professional waiters of Same Ole Line Dudes jumped at the chance and rested their butts on the recognizable canaries. The company also provides them with labels in the same color, which are welcome when it comes to temperatures of around 3 ° C. It also makes it possible to advertise for the company, which is not the only one on the waiting market. For customers, it takes around $ 60 (49 euros) per person to take the place of one of the guys in the queue after two hours in the queue. Prices even shot up around Christmas, reaching over $ 80 an hour. Today, Covid tests represent 90% of Robert Samuel’s company activity.
In the last presidential election, some people offered to stand in line, this time for free, for the elderly or disabled who could not stand for long hours. Solidarity is far from the worries of these companies, while preliminary studies show how the most difficult are more affected both by Covid-19 and by the financial consequences that come with it.