The New York Times Magazine | November 9, 2008
The lobby of the Nix Check Cashing outlet on South Figueroa and West Imperial, in the Watts neighborhood of south Los Angeles, was bright and loose. Twenty or so people, black and Latino, dressed in jeans and T-shirts or sport jerseys or work uniforms, stood in a line that snaked back from a long row of bulletproof cashiers' windows all the way to the front door. The room was loud, in a friendly way; everyone seemed to be talking with everyone else. Every once in a while, all together, the line would erupt into raucous laughter.
Next customer," said a cashier, Joseph, a young black guy with a sweet, quiet manner. He wore black sneakers, black Dickies and a white polo shirt with a Nix logo -- a retail uniform.
The customer at the window next to Joseph's looked over her shoulder. "Sister!" she yelled. "Next in line!"
It didn't feel like a bank. Read the complete story here.