In the service industries, snow days can mean no business, and consequently, no money.
Shazad Butt, a local cab driver, has lost so much money due to the snow, he's worried about paying his bills for the month.
"Normally I make $150 in 8 hrs," said Butt. "Now I'm just making 70, 80 dollars. But still I have to come, because I have to pay my bills. This is another problem. Bills don't stop."
Butt might be able to pick up more business as soon as the snow starts to clear. But when he's snowed in, there's not much to do. When he can't take his cab out, he just stays at home with his family, hoping for better weather.
At Parlor Salon in northwest Washington, customers have been canceling since the snow started falling. Hairdresser and salon owner Chris Keller says some staff were snowed in, meaning many customers had to sit at home.
"So, they actually want to come, but I have to cancel them," said Keller, "because the staff can't get here, because Metro's not working, buses are not working, streets are treacherous, etc."
But even when staff were available, some customers didn't want to brave the weather. About 20 appointments were canceled by customers who refused to venture out during the storm and its aftermath.
Some Businesses Thrive
Some businesses have thrived in the snow. Logan Hardware's Eric Hardy had to close doors last Saturday because his employees couldn't get to work. But he wishes his store could have been open even more during the snow, because business at the hardware store before and after the storm has been booming. Logan Hardware actually sold out of snow shovels — almost 1,000 in the last three days.
And once you've shoveled your front stoop, your first stop might be a bar, to escape from the snow piled up at home. Jonathan Fain runs the local D.C. restaurant and bar Saint Ex. Business has been heavy for him.
"This bar definitely does pretty well any day people don't have to work the next day," says Fain.
In fact, Saint Ex ran out of hamburger buns last weekend and Fain had to jump behind the bar last Saturday to help serve drinks, as the snow kept bringing people in. He understands where people are coming from: "What else are you gonna do? People get stir crazy, so they wanna go out."
As the streets are shoveled and life returns to normal throughout the East Coast, many won't feel a pinch at all. Their days off were paid, their classes missed can be made up later. But for some in the service industry, a blizzard is no guarantee. It can mean a boom — or a bust.