Street salesmen

Yes, there is actually a guy underneath all that hud.

The intersection just south of the Sixth Circle is regulated by a traffic light with an extremely long wait time. Numerous street salesmen, clever opportunists that they are, aggressively market their wares car-to-car to the waiting motorists.

The stuff they sell is 99% junk. Every once in a while, you’ll get a guy selling produce or flowers. Otherwise, though, it’s men selling impulse buys that might seem like a good idea when you’re stuck waiting for the light to turn green and this guy standing at your window won’t leave you alone. But believe me, by the time you’ve driven half a mile down the road you’ll regret shelling out half a dinar for shoe polish whose cheap quality is beyond belief.

I speak from personal experience. The shoe polish salesman cornered Jeremy in a taxi and started extolling the virtues of his product in English. Jeremy feigned incomprehension and spoke only in Russian to the guy. The first time this happened, it worked – the salesman gave up and moved on to another car almost immediately.

The next time we drove by, we weren’t so lucky. The shoe polish guy got us again and this time, Jeremy blew his cover by speaking in Arabic. The salesman was even more enthusiastic about his shoe polish product when he could talk about it in his native language. I guess Jeremy figured it was worth half a dinar to get rid of the guy for good (or maybe he really wanted some shoe polish, I don’t know), because next thing I knew, we were the proud owners of some extremely ghetto shoe polish.

The other thing they like to sell is children’s toys, mostly the fall-apart-y, made-in-China variety. Yesterday afternoon, a salesman was walking between the cars with one of those fake, thick-rimmed eyeglasses coupled with an abnormally large nose disguises. But this one had a mustache that you could play like a kazoo, or something (the mechanics of it weren’t clear to me). The salesman was demonstrating it over and over again. They always get really excited when they see Miriam, perhaps thinking that I’ll be willing to spend money on their stuff if it’s for my kid.

I’d tell them I’m not interested, but I don’t want them to know I speak English.
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