Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pop Plays Peanut Game for a Reason

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pop Plays Peanut Game for a Reason

Article excerpt

Eddie Ray III thought he had it figured out.

The Ribault High student had been selling boiled and roasted

peanuts for years at the Jacksonville Suns baseball games. Then

came the Jaguars, Alltel Stadium, and, for Eddie, a new frontier

of free enterprise.

He didn't want to keep it all to himself. So he brought his

father, Eddie Ray Jr., his brother, Daniel, 15, and his best

friend, William Maule, also 15, into the peanut game.

"I figured that this would be a chance for us all to be

together, and make money, and see the games too," the

16-year-old said.

What Eddie hadn't figured on, though, was pop taking

goober-hawking to heart.

And how.

About five or 10 minutes into the first quarter, Ray, who bills

himself as "your local peanut man," comes stomping down the

steps of Sections 124 and 123. No one can accuse him of boring

the crowd with slick sales techniques to get folks to buy his

peanuts, or with lackluster pitches. He doesn't use any

saccharine sayings or slogans.

Ray gets right to the point.

"I'm your local peanut man. I'm not the peanut boy," yells Ray

who, at 43, doesn't feel strange selling concessions with his

son and other teenagers.

For him, it's income before ego.

"I've got to make a living here, so I need y'all to buy some of

these peanuts."

Sometimes he gets downright personal about it.

"Hey, hey, the peanut man is down here. Ya'll gon' get me in

trouble if you don't buy some of these peanuts . . .," he yells,

as he hoists cups of the boiled, Cajun and roasted fare.

"Ya'll gon' make me feel real bad. My wife says she's not gon'

let me come home tonight if I don't sell enough of these

peanuts. So you know I got to sell `em."

Not exactly an approach for the business etiquette books. But

it works for Ray. Amazement often illuminates spectators' eyes

when Ray comes calling. During tense game moments, his antics

often elicit smiles and laughs. At times, rows of people turn

around to see who in the heck could be one sale away from such

dire domestic straits.

Most of all, they buy. Although some can't exactly say why. …

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