Most of the time, the vendors occupying any particular stretch of sidewalk are fairly consistent. The shoe repairman is next to the roti sai mai vendor, who is next to the steamed corn and peanuts vendor, who is next to the magazine vendor.
But the other day, I looked to the street below the Thong Lor Skytrain station, and saw a vendor whom I had never seen before. For a few moments I stared, trying to figure out what, exactly, the vendor was selling. Finally, I descended to the street for a closer look.
Sure enough, he had a table full of remote controls: remotes for air conditioner units were in the back and remotes for various other electrical appliances were in the front. There must have been a few hundred different models. This struck me as odd, because demand for remote controls must not be very high. It also struck me as odd because, since I had never seen this vendor here before (or since, for that matter), how would people know where to seek him out?
“You know, I need to get a new remote control for the Betamax player. I’ll just wander the city under I come across a remote control vendor.”
Doesn’t seem likely, does it?