Friday, March 2, 2012
Who needs a convenience store?
One unique difference of Tanzania than that of America is purchasing ability. Most of the time, people will go to the market or to a small store to get what they need, but they definitely don't need to do that. Many times - people come to you because that is how they make their living. If you live in Dar es Salaam, I am certain you could just do your grocery shopping for fresh fruits and veggies on your drive back home from work. People carry around boxes and baskets of fresh food or drinks for you to purchase. The price is the same as if you went to the market and actually, many times, you are able to get amazing deals. I once saw a volunteer get 11 avocados for about one dollar. The people wait until you are at a stop light or stuck in traffic and then they just walk through the line of cars waiting for people to buy their goods. Most of the items are food, but I've seen various goods for sale: tissues, toilet paper, stationary, hand-carved tables, maps, flags, sunglasses, purses, sandals, wallets, hats, you name it. There aren't many rest stops on a bus ride because the bus driver will just slow down for a police check station and the bus is swarmed with people trying to sell their goods. Often times, you get the Tanzania version of Mary Kay sellers on the bus and people are buying their toiletries from these people - toothpaste, soap, lotion, shampoo, etc. The sellers will ride the bus, make sales, get off and then catch a bus going back the way they came. As far as I can tell, bus drivers do not get commission for allowing these people to sell their goods on the bus. On my way to Dar es Salaam for medical - I got fresh black tea leaves, mango juice, and biscuits. You can also always find minutes to buy for your phone or newspapers, pretty much anything. It's super convenient and I will miss it. Suddenly, American convenience stores seems less convenient when you have people coming to you to sell what you want/need here.