Black Friday: US couple charge shoppers to queue

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Alexis Granados and her husband
Alexis Granados and her husband

A US couple is offering to camp out all night and hold places in the shopping queue for those who want to splurge on Black Friday deals.

“My husband has great ways of thinking when it comes to money,” says Alexis Granados, of her partner Bill.

He recently lost his job as a scale operator for a recycling company.

The pair are charging $50 (£38) each to wait outside any store in Upland, California, the night before the Black Friday sales.

Being paid to queue is not new – but part of a growing phenomenon within what is commonly known as the gig economy.

On Task Rabbit and Bidvine, UK sites that advertise services from the self-employed, people can earn between £15 and £20 a time.

Meanwhile, Placer, an app available in the US has been created solely to cater for people who are too busy to queue and willing to pay others to do it for them.

‘Fun’

An estimated 165.3 million people are expected to hit the shops in the US between Friday and Monday, the National Retail Federation says.

The shopping bonanza, which originated in America, falls on the Friday after the Thanksgiving holiday – when workers in the US usually have the day off.

And the California-based Granados couple say the work will help them to make ends meet. They are looking for more traditional jobs, but in the meantime say they’re happy to pick up odd jobs where they can.

Neither have done anything like this before, but she says “I’m pretty sure it won’t be our last time. It’s actually easy money when you think about it”.

Black Friday poster in shop

The couple have a car, where they can warm up during their queuing time.

They are advertising their queuing service on social media and several people have expressed an interest. The duo guarantee a good place in the queue and if their customer is not satisfied they say they will not charge for the service.

“We used to be homeless, so it is not really a pain for us,” says Ms Granados, saying the money means a lot to them.

Currently the young couple, who are in their 20s, have a housing voucher that helped them get off the street. “It was actually a stepping stone for us and helped us grow as adults,” says Ms Granados.

Housing assistance in the US is offered to people with incomes under a certain threshold who need help finding a place to live.

With a housing voucher, people can secure a place in social housing.

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