On a recent visit to Tanzania, I went out for a field trip to study payments. We were out exploring the streets and how people paid each other, when I came across a street vendor selling shoes. I paused.
As you can clearly see, the gentlemen was selling only one shoe from the pair*. Now if you are asking yourself the question why? I think you already know the answer, it is to prevent theft of shoes or shoe-snatching at it is commonly referred to.
So I just thought this was pretty ingenious (I don’t get out much), and decided to have a some small talk with the vendor. I told him, this was pretty cool, selling only one shoe and keep the others in a nearby lockup or store, so when a sale is made, he can have someone fetch it and make the sale.
And this is where it gets interesting. He tells me, the other shoes are not in a lockup. Puzzled! I asked where they were? To which he replied:
My cousin is selling the same shoes about 2 kilometers away. Why keep them locked up when I can have twice as many customers who pass by?
That just blew me away! I had never for a second fathomed that option. Here is a street vendor who knows a hell of a lot more about street economics and marketing than we will ever know.
To you, the unnamed street vendor, I tip my hat!
*If you are thinking well those sandals look like a pair, well they are not. They are different shoe sizes.