Mobile Mercados | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Mobile Mercados

San Miguel is a small town. Most of the city lies within a one-mile radius of the center. But streets are largely cobblestone or unpaved dirt. It's hilly; a walk from the center to Gigante, the supermarket on the east side, ascends something like 400 feet.

Groceries can be heavy, even if you only shop for one day's worth of food. And many people can't afford to own a car.

All this creates a niche for vendors to bring the grocery store to the neighborhoods. Usually these mobile mercados are small trucks with a tent pitched over the back to shade the produce. They service a set route, appearing on the same streets at the same times every day.

Yesterday, I ran across a more informal vendor.


Maybe this guy is a regular vendor for the modest section of Colonia San Antonio he is servicing. But I would guess he isn't. Some clues: the car is a low-visibility storefront, there can't be $10 worth of vegetables in his trunk, and the four guys in the picture are all members of the same family. There are no customers, nor did I see any when I checked back an hour later.

Most telling, though, was the apparent lack of concern for generating repeat business through satisfied customers. The guy on the right was rotating tomatoes in the plastic bag so that their rotten sides wouldn't show. From the tired appearance of his stock, I suspect they're selling spoiled produce discarded by a more reputable market.