Odd Jobs #3: Bereavement Coordinator to Car Plate Blockers


Body Painter.  Photo credit: YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

For most of the odd jobs in this week’s lineup, I was able to find a link with a description of some kind; but, not surprisingly, “one of these is not like the others” (a Sesame Street throwback…) – the only illegal job of them all; it seems to have found a niche market in a black market sense of the word.  In a weird way, it reminds me of “lines of desire” – where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I find it interesting to include “Blacksmith” in this list; what was once a trade found in any town worth its salt, and testified to by the number of people with the surname Smith, is now a rarity.

By the way, I’m running a similar series on my history blog under the heading “Odd Jobs of Bygone Days” in case you’re interested.


Filed under Articles, Images, Lists, Research

6 responses to “Odd Jobs #3: Bereavement Coordinator to Car Plate Blockers

  1. I think I’m not understanding how the car plate blocking deal works. And if only cars with certain plates are allowed on the road, does that mean every one else has to take the bus that day? Man, some of the rules people come up with… :-). These lists are cool by the way. I’ve learned quite a bit so far.

  2. Thank you! There is a similar law in Paris, due to the pollution/congestion in the city; as far as I understand it, a person is hired to stand (or ride) as to block the licence plate from being read. I assume there are police or security cameras, e.g. at the intersections / traffic lights. But I would also assume that this cheat is known to the local authorities; perhaps the one hired is also hired to go and “tip” the officer into looking the wrong way… or simply that those wealthy enough to have cars are “well connected” i.e. exempt from such laws…
    I don’t know what the public transport is like in Tehran; perhaps they take taxis, or jeepney / trike-type transport on those days.

  3. There is an ad running right now in South Africa about all the things that are unique to this place, including that many people work as car guards: men stand around in parking lots or at the side of the road and guard your car for you while you are parked, in return for a small tip when you return. Not quite like license plate guards, but an interesting foray into the informal economy nonetheless 🙂

  4. Hi! Thanks for stopping by, and following! 🙂 This job is actually coming up in my list next week: Cuidacarros, in Brazil, are what you call car guards; except they will beat up anyone coming too near your car… I love the way you put it: “informal economy”; that might also be another term for “black market” though it could simply be “grey market”. 😉

  5. Troy

    It’s been a few years, but if anybody is interested, here’s an article on it.


  6. Thanks for the link! Interesting article; if the man with the mechanical shutter had simply painted the shutter with an odd/even number (instead of just blank), he might have gotten away with it!

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