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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to Buy from Street Vendors especially during Christmas

Here in the Philippines, street vendors are almost everywhere and I am not ashamed to say that I am one of them. Actually, I started being a street vendor when I was 10 years old and it was an on-and-off career for me until I turned 19.

But on July of this year, I went back to the streets again to make money. For almost half a year, I have been selling different toys from balloons to toylights and other similar items.

Since I am spending almost the whole day in the streets, I think I can share some tips on how to buy from street vendors especially during Christmas.

First of all, you need to understand how street vendors make money. Most of us buy wholesale items which is widely known for cheap products, then we sell it on the streets and making nearly 100% profit or more on each item depending on the product. For example, a toy that can be bought at Php8 from Divisoria can be sold as much as Php20. However, it is only being sold on a per dozen basis minimum.

The suggested retail price depends on the place where the street vendors are selling. The farther the selling place from Divisoria is, the higher the retail price is since the transportation cost will also be higher.

But definitely, you can ask for a decent discount especially if you will buy more than one. Nevertheless, you should also consider the sun heat and rain these street vendors are enduring just to make money. Besides the fact that most of us do not have a selling permit which means that we can be caught by the authorities anytime.

However, you should be very careful with what you buy. Be strict when checking for the quality and test it as much as possible. Make sure that you really got the item that you checked since they can easily switched it from a defective one. Count your change before leaving since most of them are walking and you may not see that vendor again.

If you are buying clothes, be good in estimating if it will really fit you since you they do not have a fitting room. Shoes can be fitted, but watch out for Peeping Tom.

On the other hand, I strongly suggest that you do not buy canned goods and related items no matter how cheap it is. They are absolutely unsafe to eat. In addition, be a keen observer when buying street foods. Check how they are being prepared, and watch the hygiene of the street vendor before you buy.

More importantly, please do not buy pirated DVD or CD. They are totally useless, especially the new releases of a film or event. Besides, you are not being helpful to the entertainment industry.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of modus operandi that you should be aware of especially if you are alone.

Some of them will offer you their goods and services for a very cheap price. Once you stop to check the item, there might be some people who look like they want to buy too. But the truth is, they are pickpockets and snatchers just waiting for the right timing. This is why you should not wear attractive jewelries while on the streets, as well as using cell phone.

Another old trick to fool people is when you go to church, and it is most common to Catholic churches. There are ladies who will pin a religious item to you, pray awhile then ask you for payment for the item. Therefore, it is like forcing you to buy from them. This strategy usually happens when you are alone, or with your young children. Be very careful to react because that lady is not alone, and you might be hurt. If you do not like to buy, then do not allow them to pin the item to you.

But generally speaking, most street vendors are kind and they just want to make money. I happen to know some Muslim street vendors, and all they want to have a decent living since their place is always at war.

Buying from street vendors is fine, only you should be a smart buyer.

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