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What You Must Do in Dallas

The city's essential experiences. You're not a true local until you've done them all.

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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.

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