August 5, 2011

Roadside Sweet Corn Stall

This seems to be quite a business strategy in Sarawak where peace and security reign to a certain extent.

I have travelled a bit in Asia and apparently small mobile stalls set up temporarily along a stretch of road manned by one single hawker seem to be a safe and fairly lucrative business operation. Short working hours. Easy stall to set up. Special seasonal product and a young man who has the patience to wait for passersby to chance upon him.

What is interesting here is the young man has good conversational skill which impressed me and we bought his sweet corn within a few minutes . We Sarawakians are a trusting lot. But then most of the time sweet corn do come as almost perfect and full cobs in Sarawak. It was choose - cash and carry in just a few minutes....

The purchase transaction went like this...just a few words of Bahasa Malaysia....Actually you don't need many words to go shopping in Sarawak......Here are some BM words for you to use.....

Pagi!!

Bagus?

Boleh juga!

Ini Baru/segar semua!

Semua bagus?

Semua lah..aunty.

Berapa?

Tiga..(three ringgit)

Ok..dua set.

Thank you.

Thank you.



This  enterprising young man hangs his bundles of sweet corn for the hatch of his vehicle. He stays in the car when no one approaches him and he does not have to wave down potential buyers.



He even brings a steel stand (probably fashioned from some scaffolding materials to hang his fresh corn for sale. Cars passing on the left side of the road stopped to buy at about ten or eleven in the morning.



This is how the stand looks like. His sweet corn is sold in bundles of four or five depending on size for RM3.00. Not a bad price for buyers in Kuching.

He easily has about 40 bundles and that makes his morning's gross income to be about RM120 for about 4 hours work!! Pretty good. And who says money does not grow on trees?

That evening we found the jagung marvellously sweet and tantalising. Not a single cob was spoilt. I like honest sellers like this and say a prayer for his future success. He does not need to set up an after sales complaint bureau!!

However the next day when we wanted to buy again his "store" moved somewhere else...perhaps to seek a better and speedier market!! (We laughed amongst ourselves...because the day before the young man did not say...See you again tomorrow!! So may be that's the reason....)

I wonder if we would ever come across him and buy more sweet corn from him.

(Sweet corn in Sarawak is of the American variety and most of the seeds come in tins from the US...sometimes in the markets you can get seeds from the farmer-vendors and these seeds are wrapped nicely in transparent plastic bags. There are quite a number of varieties of local  corn in Sarawak. Hence when you buy corn you may come across different types. Not all are sweet. We also have an unusual variety of white corn or milk corn..)

6 comments:

Ah Ngao said...

RM3 is really cheap. over in Kuching at least 5 ringgit( RM1 for satu batang )

Sarawakiana@2 said...

This was Kuching - across River...near the Land and Survey Office...It was bumper crop for him. The big ones were l ringgit each..correct. The smaller ones 4 - 5 for 3 ringgit. My sister bought and I bought 2 bundles..1 with three only and 1 with 4...just nice..The next day he did not come any more.

He also said he could sell them all before lunch sometimes.

Ann said...

You should have got his mobile phone for future purchases.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

My sisters expect him to be selling jagung any time along that road...he is really the mobile guy along their road. And some days don't sell at all. They are used to him...

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Sorry...they are used to this type of mobile vendors...no name...no phone contact...but there will always be someone selling something along the road at one time or another. Jagung and even durians are the usual items.

Anonymous said...

In Kuching the vendors are very mobile. Most of them don't have licence...or if they have they share with their relatives and take turn to drive their car and sell where they can find good spots. Only stalls have special spots following licence given.
Kuching boy.

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