There was a popular song in Jamaica some time ago and the only thing I can clearly remember was a part of the chorus that said ' cost of living getting higher, more sellers than buyers'. The rest of the words and who sang it I can't remember for the life of me. But it played in my mind yesterday as I was going home.
Wednesday was so grey and rainy that I allowed myself the luxury of being driven home by the Unit’s driver. I was in no mood to fight traffic, or do the obstacle course of driving through non-functional stop lights. Sitting in the passenger seat for a change gave me the chance to observe the comings and goings amid the early evening home bound traffic. As usual it was bumper to bumper with everything proceeding at a snails pace. Even the tro-tros were confined to their lanes.
There were the usual hawkers weaving in and out of the traffic and selling everything you could possibly think of. Jostling with each other at the mere raise of an eyebrow or lift of a finger from any of the drivers or passengers hoping for a possible sale. It’s a wonder sometimes that they don’t get hit by the motor cycles weaving in between them and the rest of the traffic. The more assertive will come up to the windows and hold up their wares just double checking that you really haven’t forgotten to buy that one important piece of merchandise that you just can’t go home without.
Out of sheer idleness I took a pen and a piece of paper and started to write down what was being sold over a three kilometer stretch. The list in itself may make interesting reading especially if one begins to question what the real demand for these good are.
- Plantain chips - ripe and green; a favourite, especially on days when traffic is bad and you get hungry!
- ‘Pure’ water i.e. water in the plastic sachets
- Biscuits: a wide variety, ranging from chocolate covered, to pineapple filled, to plain old crackers
- Assorted cold drinks ranging from minerals (aka sodas) to Milo (pronounced me-lo here in
- Dog collars and muzzles
- Telephone scratch cards (to top up your mobile credit)
- Bread: sugar bread, tea bread, butter bread, baguettes
- Toys: for children or the back of your car depending on your inclination and taste
- Tummy trainers : I think that is what we used to call gut busters in
- Plastic file jackets: for your papers
- Skipping ropes
- Chocolate bars:
- Passport and drivers licenses holders
- Walking sticks
- Cowboy hats: usually black and white, but I have also seen tiger stripped
- Gold coloured crosses with blinking lights. Hmmm.
- CDs: music and DVDs; the latest movies and albums can be found usually within a day or two of release – quality not assured
- CD holders
- Toilet seats: soft cover
- Hand mirrors
- Air fresheners: for the cars
- Nodding toy dogs: for the cars
- Wind shield wipers: usually seen on rainy days; timely marketing?
- Clothes pins
- Badminton rackets and balls
- Sugar cane: peeled, cut and ready to eat
- ‘American’ apples that really come from
- Home-made donuts
- ‘T-roll’, aka toilet paper
- Tiger nuts: a local type of edible nut
- Meat pies
- Facial tissue
The list does not include the larger wares and furniture displayed on the side of the road – another list for another time. Until I listed them I really never thought of the amount and range of products that were sold. More sellers than sellers than buyers? Definitely so! I guess the moral of the story is said in the picture below - ' Never Dispair'. Sorry, couldn't resist.