Making an honest living selling water and other beverages
“IT’S not easy, but I rather do this than go and thief,” young Ryan said as he made change for a thousand dollars, after selling a bottle of water on Sunday, March 3, at the Linden Mashramani parade.
Donning a vest and a pair of three quarter washed out pants, a pair of socks and slippers, with sunglasses and a sun hat to protect him for the boiling sun, Ryan was not focused on viewing the passing floats and the people in the Mashramani parade, but on sifting out thirsty costumers to purchase his beverages. “Water! $100 a water here, get ya ‘I Kool’, Turbo, Sun Burst here!” That was his catch line, as he sifted out customers.
His appearance was very different from those who were fancily dressed and who spectated the procession, but in his innate desire to dress fancily too, he believes that should be done honestly, even if it means a swollen ankle at the end of the day, a sun burnt body and a hoarse voice. “Here what a telling you, Sistrin, ya see how much get shoot down yesterday deh. I in about the fast money, I prefer wuk hard for me money. One day a must mek it,” he related.
He quickly walked away to meet other potential customers, as other beverage sellers were creeping up on his territory.
With limited employment opportunities in Linden, young men have capitalised on beverage selling as a means of earning. On a regular day, plying this trade may not be as successful, and when there is a huge activity, such as the Mashramani parade, the young men, capitalise on this. They use the profits they earn maybe throughout the week as capital for a much larger purchase, so they can satisfy the needs of the crowd.
One young man related that he would listen to death announcements every night to find out where wakes and funerals would be held and would sell there and at other public functions, where the competition may not be as heavy as the Mashramani parade.
He related that on a case of water, when sold for $100, the profit garnered is $1000 and he often tries to sell five cases per day, as well as other beverages. He then throws $4,000 box hand per day, takes the rest to supply the needs of his wife and two children. When he collects his box hand, he invests most in materials for a modest home he is building.
This young man and Ryan, would have proven that nothing good comes easy and there is no excuse for not earning through honest means. So the next time, you see a young beverage seller, even though you may not be thirsty, think about patronising them, for that $100 may go a far way for them.