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February 25, 2004

Street Corner Selling – Lesson #3

Today’s lesson is PROCUREMENT (“Copping One’s Supply”)

In business, procurement is the process of obtaining goods, services, supplies, and equipment. Once something is procured, it can be retailed. Without procurement, no business would be in business. Same goes for drug dealers -- without product to deal, no deal to be made. Bruce Jacobs writes in Dealing Crack about how street corner sellers approach the procurement process.

Customary purchases were fifties ($50 worth of crack wholesale, about a gram), boppers ($100 worth of crack wholesale, about ten $20 rocks), quarter ounces ($250 wholesale), and, less frequently, half-ounces ($500 wholesale). Fifties and boppers comprise the modal purchases and generally could be bought within the neighborhood.

Price and quality, though fairly uniform, varied enough so that sellers had an incentive to shop around. Convenience was overriding, but if individual sellers thought they could readily get a better ‘play,’ they would look for it.

As Prus (street corner seller) notes, buyers want a good product at a fair price, but “buying is far from a static or simple dollars and cents exchange.” It requires a degree of “reflective planning” and is “strikingly qualifies” by the activities of those whose services buyers seek.

Sellers typically purchase their supply already rocked up (prefabricated product). As Fade explained, “It’s best to get the shit hard. They [sellers] already know how much to put in of what – how to cut it up, how much water and all that.”

Though buying is always a gamble … procuring a prefabricated product eased sellers’ fears of being swindled. Nonetheless, inexperienced sellers benefited from bringing smokers with them to verify a purchase’s authenticity. More seasoned vendors did not bother with “tasters” because they were able to discern product quality by smell, touch, and sight.


Street Corner Selling Curriculum:
Lesson #1: Customer Acquisition
Lesson #2: Ten Minute Rule
Lesson #3: Procurement
Lesson #4: Merchandising
Lesson #5: Angel Customers and Demon Customers
Lesson #6: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 1)
Lesson #7: Developing Enthusiastically Satisfied Customers (pt. 2)

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