Sunday, December 06, 2009

pot on the streets




The old man was walking down the main street of my little village. Repeating his nasal call.

It was not loud, but it was the tone. I am certain it pierced every concrete and adobe wall.

Of course, he was not saying "Pots." It was something in Spanish.

But the word didn't matter. His was a call, as the psalmist would (and did) say: "as deep calls to deep." Penetration trumps comprehension.

I did not need my Spanish dictionary. It would have done me no good because I could not understand what he was saying.

But I knew by the ceramic pots strung over his shoulders what he was selling. Just like The Streets of Laredo, I could tell by his outfit that he was a salesman, too.

That got me to thinking, who is his target market?

I understand the vegetable truck, the enchilada man, the water guy, the boy selling dulce pan, the knife sharpener. They are all selling products that when the
señora de la casa hears the honk, cry, horn, or Tarzan yell, she knows she has an immediate need for the product. Most often, it will be off of the truck and on the dinner table that day -- often within the hour.

But a ceramic pot? Who sits around the house thinking: "Gee. I wish someone would wander through my neighborhood selling ceramic pots."

Maybe there is a high incidence of people transplanting house plants without first thinking: I need to buy a pot. Thank heaven that man is coming down the street.

But it is not just ceramic pots. Trucks cruise our street selling mattresses, couches, chairs, and dressers. And not once have I seen anyone run into the street to stop one of these travelling Wal-Marts with a look of relief that a mattress crisis has been resolved.

I love the convenience of being able to buy so many necessities right in front of my house. But it appears that a good idea has gone just a bit astray.

I am not certain which category I would place the drugs and sex that are for sale on the next block. With a little imagination, someone could add rock and roll and market it as The Boomer Trifecta.

I don't even want to think what that wall-piercing call would sound like.


Tancho said...

Kind of basic marketing.
Lucky you, I never have heard of mobile sex...must be a beach area phenomena.

Laurie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the Fuller Brush Man, the Milkman, Kirby Vacuum Man, All cold calls. I guess I'm revealing my age.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

I have bought rocking chairs from the mobile rocking chair salesman. He knocked on my door, and had 2 chairs which were exactly what we wanted but hadn't had the energy to go and search out. I buy plants from the plant people, and I used to buy dirt from the tierra man, but we have since had a falling out. I keep listening for the horqueta man but he hasn't been by for awhile, but I will rush out to buy when he does.
If someone where selling pots, I would look to see what he had. It saves me going to the store, and then trying to find a way to bring them back.
Then there are the broom sellers, the guys who sell the really tall broom thingies for the high ceiling we have in these colonial houses.
I don't buy religion or key chains from the people who go door to door peddling that stuff, but I do buy fruit.

Anonymous said...

i might have been one of his customers. i love plants-our eating nook now looks like a jungle. steve is calling it the plant hospital. just a few sickies who need a little tlc, most look great as i acquired my daddy's green thumb. some came from outside for the winter and others are being moved to make room for the Christmas tree.

i loved the convenience of being able to buy things right outside our door when we were in chacala. my favorite was the tamal truck and of course, fresh veggies.

have a greata day!


Darrel said...

It must be nice to have all the conveniences brought right to your doorstep. I’ve been waiting and listening all morning for the snow shovel salesman/truck to come by. Bend must not have any entrepreneurs or they don’t want to come up my 800’ driveway. Your missing some beautiful 15° F weather with a little bit of snow.

Leslie Limon said...

Hubby and I (and most of Hubby's family) buy almost everything from the door-to-door vendors. Fruit, veggies, seafood, ice cream, cheese, chicken, bread, plastics (buckets, tupperware and trash cans), piggy banks, clay pots, dirt, tamales, cooked sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, peanuts, beans, burritas, pastries, socks, etc... And like Theresa in Merida, we even bought wicker rocking chairs. What we refuse to buy are religious items, vitamins and furniture. (We do have our limits.)

One of the advantages of living in a small town, is that we know most of the vendors and trust the quality of what is being sold.

Laurie said...

Trying again! I have purchased a toilet brush from a street seller, but the man yelling I Kee Cream was the best street crier in Honduras.

MarySF said...

As I slid down my driveway today, thinking about my potential broken hip, my envy of you and your beautiful weather increased 10 fold! Mary

Charles said...

Steve - maybe you should give some serious consideration to opening a branch of the Hard Rock Cafe down in that next block - a little Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin might be a good background for the vendors hawking their wares!

Gringa-n-Mexico said...

I'm such a dork I thought he was selling pots full of "pot" till about halfway through your post :P

I'm not sure if we have a furniture truck in the neighborhood but :P we DO have a truck that comes by and sells brooms, mops and other household stuff. (We actually did buy a mop from him lol) Do you recognize your favorite vendors by their specific call? I totally know when it's the good bread guy or the shitty bread guy by the way they scream. :)

glorv1 said...

That sure is convenience. The only drive-by sellers around here are the bakery man, ice cream man, and the other day a man riding a bicycle was selling tamales. As he rode by I heard him yelling, "Tamaaaaaaaleeeeees, caliente tamaaaaaalessssss. hehehe. I didn't buy any, I make my own. At least he was trying to make a buck. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Penetration trumps comprehension.

You have to be glad you aren't running for public office. That quote would go a long way in a tabloid rag, or so-called news magazine.




Kim G
Boston, MA
Where some of our Mexican friends refer to us as "travieso."

Steve Cotton said...

Tancho -- The sex is mobile only because it is pedestrian. But isn't that the fate of all great things?

Francisco -- But a cold call for sofas? That seems to be more in the arctic call range.

Theresa -- Convenient, yes. And most of the vendors have obvious customers. I just wonder about those big furniture pieces. Certainly, they are delivered. But --

Teresa -- (I love it when the two of you respond at the same time.) I buy very little -- even from the vegetable sellers. Only because I like getting the exercise of walking into the village to buy from the shops. Otherwise, those great legs would be -- well, let's not even think about it.

Darrel -- But you will soon hear my mellifluous calls. Just get rid of the snow. The temperatures I can deal with.

Leslie -- My fear is that the time share salesmen will figure out this sales mode. Talk about killing a good idea.

Laurie -- Great tale.

Mary -- Good to hear from you after all these years. Yes. Mexico was a very wise choice.

Charles -- It was bad enough that two vendors saw me as a potential customer one night around midnight. Two offers -- all within one block.

Gringa-n-Mexico -- And the pots of pot was certainly possible here in my small fishing village by the sea. I am beginning to think that this place is its own little Las Vegas, but without the gambling -- or the entertainment -- or the show girls. Otherwise, it is just like Vegas.

Gloria -- But too convenient. I need to get my walking exercise in.

Kim -- Now and then I add a phrase, and I think: Who will respond to this? I knew on this one it would be you or Islagringo. Can I call them -- or what? When I ran for public office, I would say things like this. After a while, no one cared. Plesae note: I said when I ran, not when I won.

Don Cuevas said...

Saturday mornings we can get menudo served up out of the trunk of a beat-up car. Bring your own container. Tried it once. Once was too often.

We do like the naranjas dulces truck selling 4 to 5 kilos of juicy oranges for 15 pesos.

Don Cuevas