A Bazaar on Wheels

Author: Nurana Novruz


Some of us  have information about street vendors. They are an integral part of urban economies around the world. Who are street vendors? Street vendors the people who are selling everything from fresh vegetables to prepared foods, from building materials to garments and crafts, from consumer electronics to auto repairs and haircuts. They are a large and very visible workforce in cities. The facts are different in each country, which confirms the existence of these vendors.

The film "Arshin mal alan" which was shot in 1917, proves the existence of such vendors in Azerbaijan. Now, the street vendors serve the Azerbaijani population. I want to introduce you to two of them. Both of them live in the city of Sumgait.

The first hero of my reportage is uncle Akbar. Uncle Akbar sells local fruits and vegetables. He relies on using wholesale goods with low prices, enabling his prices to be cheaper than bazaar prices. At the moment, he is dealing this work according to needs. He told me he had previously worked in the construction industry. But then remained unemployed. For his age, he has not found work. So he began the field of work as a street vendor. Uncle Akbar said that he is  new in this work. Despite this, he has his own loyal customers. I saw it when I was talking with him. Some of his customers were ordering him to bring them good eggplant and garlic.

During the reportage, I witnessed how uncle Akbar treated customers well. The customers told me how pleased they were with uncle Akbar. 




I said goodbye to uncle Akbar and I am going to the watermelon sellers. One of them is a key worker and others are his assistants.  Ilgar Agayev is the main person who did this work. He also sells watermelons with his car as uncle Akbar does. Ilgar’s origin is from the Masalli district (Masalli is one of the regions located in the south of Azerbaijan). But he lives in Sumgait. He has secondary education, and has been engaged in shopping for 14 years.

Now is the season for watermelons and that is why he sells watermelons. Ilgar said that the prices are cheaper than in the bazaar and markets. They sell 1 kg of watermelons in their yards for 0.20 AZN, and on the side of the road for 0.25AZN. But in the bazaar and big market, the 1 kg of watermelons is 0.35-0.40 AZN. They also sell local watermelons as uncle Akbar does. Ilgar says that he brings watermelons from Sabidabad, Barda and Kurdamir (These regions are more grown watermelons places in Azerbaijan). Sales start at 9 o'clock in the morning, and continues until 11 in the morning, in the yard. Then they go to the side of the road. They are on the side of the road until finish, and sell watermelons. When I asked him about his gain, he said “Thank God” and then told me that he earns 800-900 AZN a month. And he gives to his assistants 300-400 AZN. After much convincing, they allowed me to take a photo of them in the work process.





Chai-khana Survay