Children are excellent sales people at the market. Adorable ones attract browsing customers, even if you’re just selling garlic and ginger.
To call this grandmother’s place of merchandise a stall is a bit of a stretch. She had two baskets of produce that registered a few coins per purchase. Yet it seemed like a way to pass the time while caring for her grandchildren.
The family was from Shandong province, as were their neighbouring vendors. The market street was sometimes clustered according to your province and hometown, common in migratory patterns.
An old security guard stopped by, played with the children for a bit and bought a few pieces of ginger. Barely 3, the older child, after wiping her snot-riddled fingers on her clothes, picked up the produce awkwardly and bagged them while everyone watched her move in painfully-slow motion.
Next to her, the baby boy, wrapped up in a permanent ball of fleece, simply stared into space while concentrating on standing upright, with much futility.
“Good girl!” a few people clapped enthusiastically when the girl sucessfully bagged the produce. She giggled at the attention.
Suddenly, from behind us, someone snapped in jest, “Oei! Little girl, hurry up! I’m in a rush. Two pieces of garlic.”