Street Vendors: Their stories behind the cart

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cl a ra maría inésBy Paulina

Street vendors have always been a part of my life. From the tamale lady to the elotero, they have always been a constant in my life. In this story, I try to learn about the lives of these people since I have never taken the time to get to really know them. I learned about the regulations my city has for street vendors, how they are perceived in the eyes of businessmen and my community. I hear about different opinions people have about street vendors and even interview an actual elotero, Jose Morales. From doing this story, I gained a new appreciation for street vendors and what they do. I also ended up just a little hungry.


Some of my interviews are in Spanish so for those non-Spanish speakers here are the translations:

Rosa Hernandez

It reminds me of the traditions of mexico. People in the afternoon pass time with their families at the plaza. There are lots of street vendors and you could eat anything you want.

The majority of them(street vendors) just want to work. They have families, so they support them in a responsible way. Most street vendors here are alone, they do this to help their families in other countries. Like the the fruit vendor on the corner. It’s better to buy from them and help them rather than buy from other stores, it’s a way to support them.

Joel Sandoval

My experience with street vendors is a bit sad because when they sell,  they are putting their lives in danger. They at risk of getting arrested by the police. For example, the tamales that they prepared days ahead, 100 or 200 dollars worth of tamales, are taken away from them and they are given a fraction, like a fine so they have to pay the ticket.

Jose Morales

What do you like to do in your spare time? I like being a street vendor. In my free time,  I like to relax and do things with my kids, maybe an activity or go somewhere with them. Why did you come here? Stories that people tell about up North, that everything is beautiful and you make lots of money. It is a pretty place but jobs are hard to find. What did you do in your country? I was a farmer, taking care of animals. Where did you work when you first came here? I worked at Target. Why did you become a street vendor? My friends started to become street vendors and I followed in their path. Do you like your job? Yes, i get to be outside and know lots of people. You get distracted talking, telling and hearing stories about people’s jobs, their daily lives. Do you think your jobs dangerous? Part of it, lots of people with bad intentions, they try to rob you. Have you had trouble with the police? Sometimes the police don’t want you there and take your food. They sometimes give you a ticket or take you to jail.


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