Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Street Corner Economics



Here is an observation, made without judgement.

I was waiting yesterday at the corner of Calle Iturbe y La Paz by the pila (water tower) at P√°tzcuaro's Plaza Chica. A cab pulled up, the driver got out, and after some difficulty with the key, unlocked the trunk. Meanwhile, his only passenger, a lady of some years, also got out of the car.

They both began to unload several items from the trunk, including a large metal pot, of the type used to steam tamales, a charcoal brazier, a plastic pail containing a pineapple and several other small items, and a few things I don't specifically recall.
She dropped a few coins in the driver's hand.

So much remains unknown to me, but my immediate reaction was to wonder what kind of sales she could achieve to justify a taxi ride, and not take the less expensive combi. From her cook ware, it would seem likely that she was going to vend tamales y atole, although the hour, about 11:30 a.m. seemed odd for those foods. Usually that spot is occupied by a tamales vendor in the morning, and at about 5 in the afternoon, by one or two of the atole de grano ladies, who seem to have cornered that location for the evenings. (Fortunately for us, who appreciate their quintessential soup of rough
corn seasoned with anicillo.)

In the end, I realize that I have almost no grasp of street corner economics nor of economics in general.