Monday, November 25, 2013

Of Carparks, Markets and Poverty

I've got this thing about people making money. People have to eat. People don't have to be chasing Beluga caviar. The problem..., what does this look like?

Currently "people have to eat" is used as an excuse for douchy behaviour. Excessive promotion and pushyness is "just" the cost of business. So those who are trying to make it can excuse a bunch of behaviour by saying... they have to eat.

Is that the cost of doing business?

Renedox and I went to a night market in a carpark of a mall (Dress Smart) and it got us thinking about Asia. We've both been and one of the most memorable things for me is the amount of markets. When one is shutting down, another is opening up down the road. You can get EVERYTHING. Farmers from just out of the city limits can come into a city with a cart full of vegetables and sell it in a market...

It works in Asia. It's a way of living. Costs are kept low because you're not paying a middle man and besides which, there's real practical competition. What is the cost of doing business? A table. Perhaps some sort of license? A small fee for using a pavement? Presumably it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a lease on a building...

Back to New Zealand.... Markets have this great atmosphere BUT it's generally not encouraged except for a few odd days. Business owners talk about the threat of drunk people or the irritation of messy streets in the evenings. Heaven forbid someone uses their piece of side walk.

The cost of doing business? Want to sell something? If it's a small item, you're well out of luck. Selling it online and having to pay the delivery on it when delivery makes up a large proportion of the overall cost of goods as well as paying commission to Trade Me (you sell where the customers are meaning that sella is just not a happening thing) makes it an impossible proposition. This is assuming that your big skill is making something that can be shipped. Food items like vegetables or cooked food items? You're well out of luck.

You could go out on a Saturday to sell your goods at a Flea market... and the rest of the week you'd go through the indignantly of being on the benefit... because one day's work isn't going to support you. It's not that the things being sold have no value. It's that the opportunity to sell it is somewhat restricted. Those people who really would be doing it so they can eat are priced out of the market.

Perhaps you could pay the lease on a building? The cost of doing business...

I was back at the mall yesterday - passing it while going somewhere and found it disappointing that it was once again a carpark. As a market it was cool. As a carpark... well... not so much. There's something really galling about the idea that car parking is more important than people being given a chance to make something of themselves. There are loads of covered car parks around the place... Hell, you can rent carparks. In Auckland city, for a cheap one, it costs around $300 / month. Imagine if for $300 / month you could have a go at making a go at it... Running a business. Making a food item or selling goods etc.

The cost of doing business? A few more people to change their attitudes to public transport (god forbid they hop on their bikes as a form of transport as opposed to driving to the water front on the weekend and riding around the bays).

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