DOWNEY - Call it the undying entrepreneurial spirit of students or a covert means of getting tasty items and making a delicious profit, but Downey High School has its own "black market" in which students sell and buy forbidden delights.Despite the risk of getting caught and punished for making revenue off an eager student body, young entrepreneurs still do business during lunch and snack, and oftentimes even during class. "They sell something every time I'm on my way to class or even in class," said junior Stephanie Gutierrez. "Occasionally on my way to class, there have been people who offered discreetly to sell me candy." Attempting to make the maximum profit available, especially since there are risks involved, these young businessmen and women are not afraid to get a little creative. Some reach into the depths of their culture while others simply go for what is in demand these days. All make money-some more than others. "DHS has such a black market, it's hilarious," said ASB member Yaheli Aguilera. "I know a guy who sells tortas, one who sells candy, [and] a group that sells soda and Cup-Of Noodles." The latest food item offered on Downey's "black market" consists of the average gummy worms with-and here's the twist-Kool-Aid powder sprinkled on top. These treats are handed out to students willing to pay for a creative little snack during school. And how do students become aware when there is another seller on this supposed black market? Well, they just ask other students. "If you want something, you're going to know where to get it from," said a fellow senior who asked to remain anonymous. "If I know someone has food, I'm going to go up to them and ask them. It's word of mouth. It's high school and everyone spreads rumors about everything. Everyone asks where'd you get it from and oh, it was this one guy. It's all through word of the mouth." The motives lying behind a seller to sell during school may not have anything to do with wanting to simply break the rules, as some students have realized. There are teenagers who are affected by the current recession and having to go undercover with stuffed bags, selling candy and such to other students at Downey, can simply be seen as a call for help. "It's hard to get a job now, especially being how it is," said Gutierrez. "I do totally support it because you have to make a living and even though it's breaking the rules, candy, I don't think, is such a big deal. Gummy worms, dirty worms and dirty bears-almost anything you might find in a regular market is sold here, but for a more reasonable price. For me, it's just another way for a student to make profit and they're very, very discreet about it." Be it a cry for help, or a means to make a profit, Downey students take their candy vending very seriously. They are not afraid to create their own economy in a time when the actual one is unsatisfactory, or to take matters into their own hands. Whether or not their actions are justifiable, the entrepreneurial spirit at Downey refuses to die out.
********** Published: February 19, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 44