For the Christmas season ingredients for the traditional Christmas meal such as sorrel and pigeon peas were scarce in town. The cost of seasonings had also skyrocketed over the weekend.
Keyone Ewing of Laventille was selling mats on Queen Street. He had no complaints and said he was going “okay, not too bad” while a spice seller said sales were good. Also on Queen Street was Rodney who was selling “rozo,” a plant used as a decorative household item. It is found “deep in the bush.” The La Brea resident usually sold it at Christmas time and said he came to Port-of-Spain because “up here is where it really sells.”
A vendor of mini, battery-operated computers said, “Sales was so-so. It could be a lot worse. I am thankful to be able to use the streets to some extent,” said the vendor who only gave the name of Gregory.
The computers for children taught English and Math. Abraham Mansoor of G Mansoor and Sons said sales were “fairly hectic” last week. He said from the middle of November to beginning of December was affected by the wrecking of cars in the city. He said customers with two and three bags would have difficulty walking through town with them so sometimes they stopped in the middle of the road, Queen street and their purchases were quickly deposited in their cars.
Shakey Hadeed of Man-hole and Kid’s Zone said last minute shoppers had caused sales to pick up. “Friday was really nice and yesterday (Saturday was better). It was nice when it came. Thank God.” A vendor of watches for men said sales were slow yesterday although it “picked up a little” over the past three days from Saturday. The Arouca resident was still hopeful of selling her goods. Watch seller Allan Cassie of St James said sales were worse this year than last year. He still expected sales to improve with last minute shoppers.
Toy-mart on Frederick Street was busy with adults looking for the right toy for children. A worker said, “sales have picked up.” The big sellers were Baby Alive, for $899. All were sold out. Also selling were electronic items — Leap Frog child friendly tablets and the Vtech Innotab. Curtain rod sellers complained of slow sales. “January is a hard month so they (customers) are holding back. It is supposed to pick up I hope,” said one of them. A ginger seller said the popular root for making ginger beer was selling “slow but sure.” A pound was retailing at $10. She was also selling boxer shorts and jerseys but sales for these items was “real bad, people not spending.”
On Charlotte Street there was hardly any sorrel to be seen. A vendor with a small heap was seen a the corner of Charlotte and Prince streets. Sorrel was selling two pounds for $20, while Newsday was told that in the Croissee, San Juan it was retailing for three pounds for $20. The cost of pepper was $1 for one and $5 for 20 pimentos, and $3 for a bunch of celery.
Caption 1: A heap of sorrel on Charlotte street. Sorrel, which is boiled and used to make juice during the Christmas season was scare in town yesterday.