If you live in New York, you might have seen the “same ole dudes” standing in line for big events. From Broadway shows to getting the newest iPhone, there are people who get paid to wait in line for others. And you can be one of them. Line standers come in handy for people who don’t want to spend long hours waiting in the cold. Especially during COVID-19 testing, being a line stander is a popular gig you can partake in just by selling your place in line at testing sites. This idea all started with a man named Robert Samuel.
Samuel is the founder of Same Ole Line Dudes. Their tagline is “We Wait For Your Wants.” He founded his company in 2012 to provide service to people who want to get into in-demand events without having to wait. His first gig began when he posted an ad on Craigslist, offering to stand in line for people waiting for the new iPhone. Nine years later, it is now a legitimized LLC with the State of New York. As one can expect, business for Samuel slowed during the pandemic. However, it picked right back up during election season as he and his employees sold spots in line for voters. Currently, business is booming as people are vying to grab spots for COVID-19 testing. 90% of Same Ole Line Dudes’ business is made from this alone. After standing in line for two hours in the freezing cold, Samuel gives his spot up to someone else who paid him to be there before the testing site opened. Samuel can reportedly make up to $80 per gig.
While this is an ingenious way to make money, it does raise a question on the ethics of this practice. During a time when so many people are struggling with a pandemic that affects different classes and races disproportionally, it does not seem fair for someone who can afford to pay someone else to wait there for them to have this advantage. According to their website, Same Ole Line Dudes employs students, veterans, and stay at home moms. So if this does open employment opportunities for people who need it, what harm does it do?
Do you think getting paid to stand in line for someone else is unethical? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.