When I was a kid in the Dorchester section of Boston there was a horse and wagon that came around all summer and sold fruit and vegetables in the neighborhood, and the guy was called a huckster (or Hawker), also there was the Hoodsies truck (Or the Good Humor man) that sold Ice Cream, to us kids with its bells sounding its arrival every day, and us trying to come up with the dime required to get one.
In my purok in Roosevelt, Bataan every week day we have a different type vendor come around. First you have the folks on foot selling furniture, on the peso down the chase is on program. Here you can purchase any type of item you want such as dressers, beds table and chairs and other such items right from the comfort of your gate. Then they will come by every week and collect the money until the item is paid off, or the customer moves in the dead of night.
Which brings up something else I’ve noticed; if you see a Trike or Jeepney overloaded with household effects in the day time, that person is moving in. If you see the same after dark, that person is skipping out and you’ll never see them again.
The first and most important vendor of the day is the kid selling the Hot Pan de Sal (Or Pan de Sol) at 5am every morning; my ear is attuned to listen for his cry in the darkness, waiting for my first bite with my first coffee of the day.
The next group are the fresh meat and vegetable sales vendors, they show up a little before lunch so you can prepare lunch, unless you go to the very sanitary makeshift vendors set up on the street and buy the prepared food sitting in those 7 or 8 pots that everyone has lifted the lid to look inside to see the foods.
Next is the kid with the squeeze horn selling “Sticky Rice“which is a sweet rice concoction, that kids seem to love? I had to try it just once, but I didn’t fall in love with it. I’ll assume it’s an acquired taste.
Now during the day you’ll get a different group, the collectors, the pawn folks and travelling sales people.
The collectors are asking donations for people in the hospital, a person whom has passed off this mortal core and need help getting to their afterlife. These collectors are required to have a letter dated and signed by “YOUR” Barangay Kaptian; some will have a letter signed by their Kaptian who is 50 kilometres away and signed a few months ago. So read and look for those two important items at least.
The Pawning folks; will bring you about anything, working or not and try to get you to lend (give) them money, the odds are likely that will be the last time you’ll ever see them, and you’ll have a shed full of worthless stuff that even Mike and Frank from the “Pickers” will turn up their nose at. Here’s a pawn that happened to me 8 or 9 years ago. The guy brings me a 36 inch TV, still in the box, I tested it and it was new and worked fine. He needed 5,000.00 pesos, and I’d seen the same TV on base selling for 15,000.00 pesos. I gave him the money, One year with no payment from him, he knocks on the gate and for 5,000 pesos MORE I can buy the TV. I was pretty sure that I had already done that last year. I explained I was not in the market, but for 5,000 pesos he could have his TV back. I still have the TV out in my Man Cave and it still works. I’ll assume it’s mine.
Now the travelling sales people, first and foremost they will tell you a lie that they are there from the government (Note the clipboard) and they are required to check you gas connection, water purity, and fire safety, plus a myriad of other excuses to get their foot in the door. I’ve found the best way to deal with them was to just ask what it is they are selling. Then proceed from there.
Now we’ve gone full circle, and it’s close to the end of the day and now will appear the ubiquitous “Ice Cream Vendor” he maybe on foot, with his duct taped cooler, or on a special built Trike with an umbrella, but appear they will, the only difference now and fifty years ago is now I’m the one hit up for that most Important dime (Or Peso). Remembering back to how I felt on those hot summer Boston afternoons, I’m a sucker, and the kids know it. Like Pavlov’s dog I am trained to answer to those bells. My Grandson, “the Lil Dude” has seen to that. Plus the neighborhood kids know I’m an easy touch.
I almost forgot the “Sharpener Dude” with his wheel attached to an old bicycle sitting there sharpening anything you have. I open my gate and let him setup in my carport out of the sun or rain and the street comes to him. This is what we called back in those Hippy Dippy days as a “Happening” The ladies will commence to yacking and the guys and I will have a beer or two. “The Sharpener Dude” is my favourite vendor of them all. But we only see him once a month.