Thursday, February 04, 2010

12th Ave Taco Truck

Word is that Juanito Gutierrez, operator of a new taco truck on S. 12th Ave, is generating quite the buzz in town. His business was highlighted as a showcase for the extraordinary economic development achievements of the past year. The truck serves authentic Mexican tacos, burritos, tamales, and quesadillas featuring a secret recipe "to die for" salsa packing enough heat to make a Corona taste good. What few know is that the project, now booming, almost didn't happen.

Eager to provide fast eats on par with Rigo's and Mi Nidito's, Gutierrez, a creative class gay Hispanic entrepreneur, almost gave up when he learned about the various permits, licenses, certificates, and approvals necessary to start the business. This guy, uh, Hegler, tells me that the process is so complex a person needs a consultant. He said for $6,000/month he could make everything happen.

Gutierrez started paying Hegler, and in three weeks received permission to complete the application forms to obtain the following:

1. South Tucson Business License:
----Don Eckum Administration Fee, $3000
----Al Eckum Workforce Fee, $1000
----June Eckum Clean Street Fee, $750
----Anita Eckum knows June Fee, $400
----Billy Bob Eckum has Eckum last name fee, $300

2. Pima County Operation Business License:
----Taco emissions Environmental Impact Fee, $400
----Taco Juice Sewer System Impact Fee, $300
----Truck Parking Zone Fee, $300
----Meat/Tortilla Safety Inspection Fee, $250
----Fire Inspection Fee, $300

After paying the fees, Gutierrez was informed he could operate on S. 12th Ave, We wanted to be on Fourth or Sixth, you know, by the pretty tile, but they said that would be bad.

Juanito started selling tacos before Christmas, I'm not selling tacos a week yet, and this dude calls, Smear Channel, saying I need a billboard/radio ad. I dunno. I remember that these are the jerks that did "Tight Ass For Sale" right by an elementary school, I mean that ain't right, so I say no and he gets all pissed off, says I'm stupid and even says something about my race and whether I'm legal. I hung up.

Next came a call from a professional coach. This lady calls and she's all polite, and then she says she can break me free of my paradigms and obsolete practices. I asked her if she's tasted the killer salsa, and she says no, so I ask what she knows about making tacos. She gets all hissy and hangs up.

Two weeks later, Gutierrez received a call from TREO outreach. He recommends that I become one of their Giga-Titanium Partners, something about a trip to bikini island, free golf, the taco network, taco partnership community, mobile food consciousness blueprint, and a web thing called TacoLink where I could post the address of my truck's web page.

He asked who I hired. When I said no one, he said everyone in the family was an employee. Then he asked if I use the trash cans, and there's the dude that sweeps the sidewalk. He asked if I met the police, and I said they like the burritos. He wanted to know if anyone buying tacos rode the bus. Next thing I know, this guy is telling me I created 184 jobs and that because I'm gay, I provide more leverage for economic growth. He sounded serious, but I mean, he had to be joking, right? Well, I figured he was joking all deadpan style like Steve Wright, so I get all serious and joke back all serious like, "Your mama want a job?"

Word about the killer salsa is spreading, and taco sales have been climbing. In January someone suggested Gutierrez join the Chamber of Commerce, I went to this thing at a restaurant, and everyone's telling me what I need. HR, PR, marketing, accounting, payroll, strategic planning software. Some dude says I'm planning to fail by failing to plan. I said I had a plan. I plan to sell tacos. A web guy tells me I gotta get online so people can see my menu and place orders. People in China who Google "taco" will see my truck. Then I heard a familiar voice, and sure enough, it's Smear Channel guy trying to sell a billboard/radio ad to a massage therapist.

She's shaking her head and uncomfortable, and the Smear guy is harrassing her the same way he did me, saying she's stupid and missing opportunity and will fail. The lady gives foot rubs, man. That's when I realize I know what I'm doing and so does massage lady and the hair cut guy and the coin dealer. It's Smear that doesn't know jack.

Clearly upset, massage lady tries to get away, and Smear follows her! So I jump between them and give Smear a rich dose of my face, "If you're so smart and she's so stupid, how come she owns a business and you're pasting asses on billboards? Why don't you plaster your own ass on a billboard and sell cheese?!"



Anonymous Observer said...

Ohhh, god (gasping for air - breathing now, breathing now). I'm in pain. What a gut buster.

I remember that "Tight Ass For Sale" billboard.

I was laughing throughout the whole thing, but the bit about people in China googling "taco" and seeing Juanito's truck had me doubled over. Hilarious.

This post is a gem for small business owners. I have no doubt they'll think it's a scream. The Tucson First guys will love this post.

And the part where Juanito goes, "He had to be joking, right?" and asks, "Your mama want a job?"


2/04/2010 3:18 PM  
Blogger The Navigator said...

Deliciously wicked irreverence saturated with truth. I can actually taste Juanito's distinction at the end between those who produce genuine economic value and those who feed off of it. Rich, indeed.

The description of the Chamber event is no fiction, at least for those afternoon networking events. Everyone is selling.

I know a business owner that practically had a nervous breakdown over horrible permit problems when he tried to make minor changes to his building. I know it was the County, not the city, giving him all the grief.

The distinction here is WAY SHARPER and more illuminating than public/private.

2/04/2010 5:43 PM  
Anonymous Scarlett Letter said...

Hi-larious. Way to go!

2/04/2010 7:29 PM  
Blogger Cigar Man said...

Awesome, x4mr, just awesome.

Some may not realize how incredibly real this piece is. EVERY person is real, and I know (or know about) almost all of them. It's obvious who Hegler and the Eckums are.

Hair cut guy has to be Joe Higgins, and Coin Dealer is Wayne P., a good friend of x4mr's who started Arizona Stamp & Coin over 30 years ago. Massage lady is a very successful reflexology professional. The notion of Smear trying to sell her billboard space is absolutely hysterical. Oh, if you only knew..

Smear is a Clear Channel employee not one iota less disgusting than portrayed here. He's a fat, sexist, racist, swindling piece of shit. The business coach could be a few people, but I think it's SS, more pathological than malevolent. After you see through the BS, she evokes more sympathy (sort of) than animosity. It's a shame she cannot do for herself what she claims she can do for others. People can probably guess who the TREO guy is.

I am pretty sure I know who Juanito is (not his real name). It's not a taco truck, but there is a young, gay Hispanic professional in town whose business is exploding. He is exactly how x4mr portrays Juanito, a street smart reality centered person making an honest living the old fashioned way, the combo of brain, muscle, and elbow grease it takes to provide great food at a great price super fast.

People in China Googling "taco" and getting a truck on 12th Ave. Oh, God.

2/04/2010 9:11 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Way to close to home x4mr!

You forgot the $50k pay off to Skrappy's youth lounge.

Bring in x4mr....

Wake Up Tucson!

2/05/2010 6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, Joe, everyone has to take a haircut in this economy.

When I look at the photo and the clientele patronizing the taco stand, I can see clearly that TREO has succeeded in its mission of attracting and retaining the Creative Class in Tucson.

2/05/2010 8:44 AM  
Anonymous Anon said...

Deliciously elegant.

Seriously, I don't remember reading a piece that packs so much information between the lines. Like Cigar and Joe say, THIS IS REALITY.

The Chamber part refers to the "After Hours" thing they do at 4:30. I went once and don't understand why anyone would go again.

Nav nails it - there are those who create real value, and there are those who feed off of it.

Loved the "Billy Bob Eckum has Eckum last name fee."

2/05/2010 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Delusional Bill

Not really sure if the 'real' names would be embarrassed or not. Given the usual 'way' business is done in Tucson they might want to be named. Show how 'leaders' truly lead...

2/08/2010 10:50 AM  
Blogger Liza said...

So true. I have a feeling that Joe Snell is delighted that people are talking about his "blueprints" and sees this as a sign of effective and creative leadership.

X4mr, this post clearly illustrates that some of your talents are being under-utilized. You can almost see a film script emerging here (tragicomedy, of course.)

2/08/2010 11:46 AM  
Anonymous truck rental said...

There's no truck like the taco truck! how I love to run into it by surprise and take a midnight tasty taco for less than 3 dollars..great!

5/26/2010 3:01 PM  
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