Business

Along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a struggle to make a living

In the previous five years, she said, she received about 100 fines and paid hundreds of dollars. She hopes to get it back as part of the ongoing lawsuit.

Last year, Ms. Soto’s husband was on weekly kidney dialysis, and Ms. Soto took some time off in March to recover from a hysterectomy. While she and her husband were unable to work, a group of vendors pooled their earnings and gave the couple $3,000 to help them make ends meet.

Although she has returned to work, Ms. Soto said business has been light.

“After the pandemic, everything changed,” she said. “It’s not as easy as before. It’s the economy. Now things are going very slowly. People complain about money, about the taxes they have to pay. They are not spending as much as they used to.”

She hasn’t made $900 in a week since last summer, Ms. Soto said, and in one week last month she made just $360 in five days. It’s hard to keep up with the $2,000-a-month rent on their one-bedroom apartment, she said.

Her 19-year-old son works at a nearby shoe store to help cover expenses, she said, and she may soon look for another job where she can work in the mornings before selling hot dogs.

“The situation is very, very bad,” she said.

As a thick navy blanket descended on the city, Ms. Soto turned on a light above her cart and zipped up her hoodie. A four-wheeled food delivery robot – one of many that crisscross this part of Los Angeles – whizzed by.

It was a relatively quiet night in the heart of Hollywood and after seven o’clock Ms. Soto finished her shift.

Her total for the day: $85. She hoped the next day would be better.

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