A conversation with Bang Al, a spice trader at the Mencos Market, Karbela. What about the impact of the pandemic on people serving other merchants?
Siang Mas, can you chat for a while or not? How are you, busy or not selling during the pandemic these days? Wow, it's still quiet, miss. Just look around at this hour, there are still a lot of seasonings left over. What time does it usually get busy, Mas? It's most crowded in the early morning, at dawn. But recently it's been quiet in the morning, too. Hoo, so even after the relaxation of covid restrictions there aren't many people going to the market anymore? Not yet, Mba, it's at least 50% down since the restrictions came in until now. The problem is that the Satpol PP are standing guard at the front, which makes people reluctant to go to the market. Not to mention that now you can't use plastic, you have to bring your own bag. So it's getting harder to sell. Oops, then if someone is shopping, what do you use the packaging for? Yes, you have to bring your own bag, Mba, but sometimes we like helping out with plastic bags. We're still nervous about being raided, though, we could get into trouble. What do the sellers think about that? We still want to support the rules, but if they could help us find a solution, maybe if each trader was given a container or something else that is not plastic. Yeah that makes sense, Mas, so that we can all support the policy. Oh yeah, so if the market is quiet like this, are you thinking about selling online or using the phone? There are those who use WA, but it's just for subscriptions. Usually the main custom is from the usual market visitors. Right now it's quiet, so... yeah. Are the subscriptions from people who live around here, Mas? Most of them sell from warteg in Karet there, but because the office is still quiet, the warteg also aren't cooking much. Then, Mas, are you afraid of all this news about COVID? Yes, I'm afraid, they're calling it a disease but we don't know much about it. Apparently it's not like flu or colds, but what can we do, we have to keep selling. Have you ever had a test, Mas? Yup. At that time, thank God, everything was negative. Seems like things are pretty safe around here. Yes, not a 'red zone', right? How about visitors who come here? So, up front they check all the temperatures before entering. But because it's kind of a hassle people are keeping away from the market. So are you originally from around here? No, I'm originally from Padang. Just moved here 7 months ago. Wow, that means it has only been 3 months before the pandemic suddenly hit, right? Yes, something like that, but what can I do. I'm just looking for a decent job here. Hopefully in the future it can be more crowded, Mas, and sales will run smoothly. Thank you very much, Mas, goodbye. Yes, you're welcome