While wandering around late Wednesday night during SXSW 2013 in Austin, Tex., I ran into these two young ladies offering free foot washing. I had been waiting for a while outside Buffalo Billiards, looking for a way to crash the badges/wristbands-only Ash showcase when they appeared, asking each and every passerby – regardless of size, geometry, color, gender, or generally observable hygiene level – if they wanted their feet washed for free.
After a few minutes one of them spotted me and asked if I wanted my feet washed. I wouldn’t wish any other human contact with my feet, so I declined. “But I’m sure interested to see how it works out for you guys,” I said. “Me too!” came the cheerful, honest reply. She went back to finding willing washees and I scoped the set-up: they had pour-out coolers filled with hot water, soap, scrubbers, and aluminum baking sheets to put your feet on/in. There was even someone getting their feet washed! A certain bait-and-switch aspect of the operation became clear in that the front ladies weren’t actually doing the hands-on action, but I was still curious about their motivations so I asked….
SXSW: One part hipster, one part thug, one part hippie. All music…plus a little bit more