In their latest edition, Dallas-based D MAGAZINE has listed “hiring a day laborer” as one of the things one must do in Dallas to become “a true local.” In a section called “What You Must Do In Dallas: The city’s essential experiences. You’re not a true local until you’ve done them all,” the magazine lists 52 “must do” things, including such favorites as riding a bull, eating chicken fried steak at Babe’s, going to the drive-in at the Galaxy, and spotting Troy Aikman.
Tucked in the last row of the list, right before going to the State Fair of Texas and exploring the Trinity River Audubon Center, is the suggestion to go and hire a day laborer.
Here is the advice D MAGAZINE is giving its readers so that they earn the badge of a being a true resident of Dallas:
Hire a day laborer
Need someone to dig a trench, tile a patio, cut down a tree, or haul trash? Don’t ask your elderly father. He’s weak. Good, cheap labor is a short drive away on Carroll Avenue, between Ross and San Jacinto. Look for the vacant lot with mustachioed men sitting on stumps by the cyclone fence of wind-trapped Funyuns bags. Arrive early in the morning for the best workers. If they’re motivated to get up early, they’re motivated to work hard. They’ll swarm your car, which can feel a bit like a nascent siege, but it’s normal. Negotiate rates up front and be prepared to pay $10–$14 an hour. A few years ago, we offered $7 an hour and dudes scattered as if our vehicle read “INS.” Hopefully, you have a truck. Anything less makes for an uncomfortable ride to the jobsite. Especially if you’re hiring multiple guys. We once endured an awkward trip in a Miata with one laborer straddling our lap, facing us, and telling us he loved us. Give them clear instructions, buy them lunch, and keep them in water. If a guy is a loafer, pay him, take him back to the lot, and pick up another one. Sounds cruel, but in this job market it’s survival of the fittest.
We did contact D MAGAZINE via email tonight for comment, but have yet to get a response. Once we do, we will share. According to its own official information about its history (it launched in 1974), D MAGAZINE actually takes these types of lists rather seriously. It also touts its reputation as one of the city’s (and the country’s) most successful magazines today.
Not everyone was happy with the new magazine. It was frequently attacked, and even sued, by politicians and business interests who were upset by its candid editorial content and strong positions. But readers continued to support D even when advertisers didn’t, and by 1977 when it launched its annual “Best and Worst” awards, D Magazine was an unqualified financial and editorial success.
(Founding editor Jim Atkinson remembers how we blew the lid off this city with restaurant reviews. Read “The Wonder Years,” published in D Magazine’s 30th anniversary issue.) In 1990, D Magazine was sold to American Express. In 1995 Wick Allison once again assumed the helm of the magazine and in 1996 led a group of investors in buying the magazine. Today, D Magazine is again part of the lifeblood of Dallas. Circulation has soared some 500 percent since 1996, and D has become one of the best-selling magazines per capita in the United States on local newsstands. The reason for its success is its devotion to editorial quality. D Magazine has been named the “Best City Magazine” in the nation three times by the City and Regional Magazine Association. D Magazine has also won five of the Press Club of Dallas’ 2005 Katie Awards, including the awards for “Best Magazine” and the “Visual Communications Award for Magazine Design” for the March 2005 issue.