Chicago Christmas tree salesmen
Three tree vendors from Wisconsin discuss their seasonal gigs.
James Boucher, 57; Andy Boucher, 34 (2749 N California Ave)
How did you get into the Christmas tree business?
AB Me and my uncle [James] are from Wisconsin. We used to be house painters, and in the wintertime we’d be laid off. We seen an ad in the paper and called the number. This was probably 12 years ago.
Do you grow the trees?
AB The guy we work for has a tree nursery in Wisconsin.
How do you kill time in the trailer when business is slow? Internet porn?
JB Watch TV or read the newspaper.
AB I have a Kindle now, so I read.
You sleep in the trailer at night?
JB One day, I saw this old lady with a grocery cart. I said, “Andy, look: She moved into our outhouse!” We had to get the cops to evict her.
Is the job worth the hassles?
AB Doing this makes people happy. One year, a family who had just lost their son to cancer came to our lot. We pride ourselves on having nice trees, but they wanted the worst we had. Their son’s name was Charlie, and they wanted a Charlie Brown tree. It was pretty hard [to hear].