Pulling The Plug

I’m finally closing the book on the 2nd Bottled Water Experiment where I attempted to get a homeless guy to sell water on Riverside Drive while I was off doing other things.

I can make all the Excel charts I want showing how much profit should be made etc, but it just didn’t work out like that in real life.

I’ve learned a few things from this experience:

  • Working with a homeless guy proved a bit difficult due to a lack of communication, which is much needed for coordinating.
  • Ice proved to be the most expensive, yet shortest lasting commodity.
  • You need A LOT of ice to keep 100+ bottles of water cold in 103 degree weather. Dry ice would probably be better.
  • The amount of work required to pull this off was not worth the money. There were a lot more logistical problems than I first imagined.

The 1st Bottled Water Experiment showed that selling water by yourself can easily bring in a healthy profit, but delegating the work in this case did not.

Since the 1st and 2nd water experiments, I’ve setup Barry with water about 7 times. There are lots of problems which arise, especially schedule conflicts and weather. Weekdays are also surprisingly slow days for selling water, even if it’s hot. Tougher vagrancy laws now in effect also hamper the selling.

Funny thing is, whenever I approach a homeless person to see if they’re interested in selling bottled water, they ALL smile and say, “Ohh…so YOU’RE the bottled water guy!”
I’ve become a quasi-celebrity in the Austin homeless community!

Since this never materialized into a real money-maker, I see no need to further pursue it. I strongly believe it CAN be a money-maker, but with my ever-changing schedule and mounting work load, it’s not for me. At least I learned something new!