Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Roadside groceries

I think some of the strangest things in Miami are the roadside grocers. You know, the people who walk thru traffic at heavy intersections and offer various fruits, veggies, seafood, and beverages to you while you sit in your car waiting for the light to turn green. This concept totally blows my mind. First off, how is this legal? It seems like any Joe with something to sell can walk thru traffic and try to hawk his wares without penalty. Are these people taxed? I doubt it. Are they operating with a permit? Negative. Yet they are allowed to meander thru traffic selling items to wary commuters.

Sometimes these people dont sell anything, they just beg for money. Like this one woman on 27th and 103rd who is there EVERY DAY with her walker moving thru traffic at a snails pace while shaking a cup and asking you to donate. This woman pisses me off because she wades thru traffic asking for money while wearing a fuckin walkman! If youre really that hard up for money, sell the fuckin walkman! Thats why I wont donate a dime to her. She even gets stuck when the light turns green sometimes and ends up in the middle of the road between two lanes while cars fly by narrowly avoiding her. Not cool.

Other roadside grocers that wont get my money:

The mango guy (you can get these anywhere in Miami for free)
The shrimp guy (do I really need to explain why buying shrimp in a 5lb bag on the side of a road during 90 degree heat is unappealing?)
The woman selling apparel (just plain silly)
The newspaper guy (I read online)

There are, however, a few guys that I do find give valuable service:

The lime/lemon guy (you can get a bag of about a dozen key limes or a half dozen lemons for $1 which is a pretty good deal)
The water guys on 103rd just as you approach 95 heading east (These guys are young and they hustle so I like to support their efforts. I also get thirsty on the drive home and the water that has been sitting in my car is usually 100 degrees by day's end)

As I handed the water kid my $1 yesterday, I thought, "How the hell do these guys profit on water?" For one, there are costs involved. I think that the last time I bought a 24pk of Zephyrhills it cost about $6-$7. That means that these guys would need 24 sales just to make $17-$18. That sucks. I wonder how long that takes and if its even worth it. $18 a day is $90 a week and if they kept that pace for the year they would make an extra $4680 tax free. That doesnt sound bad but I cant imagine they sell that much and I also imagine it take a long time to make that many sales. Heck, they'd have to sell 8736 bottles of water to make that!

I feel like this is just another case of "only in Miami" as I have not encountered these people elsewhere. I think the Food Network should have one of those shows where some guy drives around and purchases food from these roadside grocers and then makes a meal. Then you could guess how many hours it would be until he became ill or how many hours he would spend on the crapper the next day. Hollywood, here I come!


Anonymous said...

yea those people annoy me especially when they stop traffic cuz they dont get out the way quick enough or some asshole cant fish the right change out his ash try to give the fuckin guy a dollar for a water.. go to the fuckin gas station before you get on the hiway and waste your own damn time, not mine.. sorry for the profanity lol.. traffic is such a pain that any little slow down pisses me off..

how long have you lived down here? i remember seeing on the news prolly like 5 - 10 years ago about how they were cracking down on street vendors because theyre actually supossed to apply and obtain a license to sell and report the sales..

Blind Mind said...

Ive been here 7 years. Apparently the "crackdown" didnt work.

trina said...

My thoughts exactly re: the seafood truck. I kind of like the hanging fruit and vegetable truck, just for local color. And also, the knife sharpener--that one is kind of cool.

Trina said...

Hey there! Where have you seen a woman selling apparel? Never seen that one before.

Blind Mind said...

She works the intersection of 27th Ave and 119th St. Socks, tshirts, and Gatorade or water are the wares she hawks.

You're missing the crawl!!