Fashionistas line Skid Row

Nathaniel Christopher 2 Comments
Middle class people brave skid row for recession sales

In Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside it’s not uncommon to see throngs of hard up people lined up around the block for a hot meal, clothing or some other social service. It’s not uncommon to see apron-clad middle class people from Vancouver and the suburbs slopping soup to the hungry beggars in Skid Row.

But Friday the tables were turned a bit as I noticed dozens of middle class, or at least “respectable” looking, Vancouverites queued around a Skid Row block.

My first thought was “shit, this recession is really taking its toll.” Thinking back to all the times when I had to go to the soup kitchen.  But as the sign of the building came into view it appeared to be some kind of sale.

The clothing chain Plenty rented an empty bank in the area to hold a warehouse sale and people were lined up hours before it started to take advantage of the bargains.

I thought it’d be awesome if the people working at that sale were the same people who normally line up in soup kitchen lines.

I’ve spent time in soup kitchen lines. It’s not fun. You’re broke, hungry and lethargic. Standing outside of some church waiting for the doors to open.  When I was a kid you’d only find really hard up people in the lines but now there are more and more working poor who rely on soup kitchens in order to survive.

Although many people appear to be “middle class” clothes don’t always reveal how poor or hungry someone is.

When I saw this line up I got the eerie feeling that this will be a more common sight in the coming years. Well dressed people lined up, not for posh clothes, but something to eat for the day.

I am a resident of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada who has blogged here for 20 years. I like to share my thoughts and feelings on my own online space. From 1998 until 2017 I worked as a journalist and I hope to use this website as an archive for all of my stories.


  1. You should look at old pics of people lining up during the Depression. Some of them wore pretty snappy outfits, even by today’s standards, with suit jackets and hats.

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