In every city there will be some one selling something. I usually avoid these people for several reasons. I realize that I am not in the US and everything is not available at a one-stop shopping paradise.
First of all, while the children are cute, if they are selling something during the day that means they are not in school. And they should be. I also realize that in a lot of places school leaves a lot to be desired. For example in Ecuador, school is only 4 hours a day. In Colombia, it is only 5 hours a day. In some places, it is a lot like the agrarian society of the US in the 1800′s. Children are needed to help on the farm or around the house. But they need school too. I have decided that education is the key to just about anything. Once basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and health are met, education should be the next priority. Often it is not…a least not in these areas I have been.
Second if I want to buy gum or candy or want my shoes shined or whatever, I´ll go to these places. Because if I am going to buy some Certs or chewing gum or something, I want to at least know that it is fresh. I will admit, though, have a water/juice or fruit vendor come to you while you are trapped on a base is awesome. Something for aspiring entrepeunerus to consider for major cities’ rush hour traffic.
Third, I will say these people are poor–its a given, but where do they get the money to buy this stuff…and how long does it sit around. [Fruit/vegetable/bread, ect are not included in this tirade because one can be pretty sure that it is home grown/homemade, and you can tell how fresh something is.] And not that this is a good reason but just about every travel/guide book I have ever read says that it undermines the local economy and no one really wins.
So that´s my spiel about the street vendors.