Teddy Bears

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Earlier tonight I went for a walk to get some fresh fruits from some of the numerous street vendors. I found some typical pineapples and mangos for 20 baht per set. That is precisely 50-euro cents i.e. nothing.

While I was walking around, munching these delicious gifts kindly provided by Mother Nature, I first passed a bar where a dozen or so prostitutes yelled out offering massages for 1000 baht. Ironically enough, this bar is located exactly opposite the local police station. Still chewing slices of a mango, I continued to the lesser-crowded and -noisy area when I suddenly noticed a smashed phone booth where there amazingly still was a light on. By the opening, where there presumably sometime ago still used to be a door, was sitting a girl knitting. In front of her, she had placed an empty cardboard box to serve as a tiny table. On top of this table she had put on display three small knitted teddy bears, a totally unusual product among all the trash everybody on the streets seem to be selling. All the time knitting, the girl looked at me and told to have a look. She told me that the price for the biggest bear was 350 baht, which is around 9 euros. My first automatic reaction was to say what I always say to street vendors: “very expensive”. She went on to reply: “I made it for 4 hours” – simultaneously sticking four of her fingers in the air. Somebody else walked by and started looking at the same stuff, which gave me an opportunity to leave.

I turned to the quieter street that I was actually looking for when it hit me. There we have this girl, 100 meters away from prostitutes with relatively high income. This knitter-girl was sitting on a darker part of the street, knitting like crazy and selling teddy bears for only a few hundred baht. I realized, that somehow this girl had come up with a business plan which to materialize had required multiple stages to be executed: learn to knit, buy the materials, come up with designs, and finally turn up on the street to sell the stuff.

I turned around and went back to her. She smilingly told me that the price was still 350 baht. I agreed to pay the price. However, now I also have another design ordered, which should be ready by Thursday. And as my mind sometimes comes up with all kinds of plans, I left her my card to email me photos of all of her designs. Who knows, maybe I’ll start promoting handmade teddy bears, among other things.

If you ever happen to be in Kao San Road area in Bangkok, keep your eyes open. If you see a girl knitting teddy bears, go ahead and buy some. If you think they’re expensive, skip three beers and you’ll have a bear.



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