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Bang Arif - Penjual Bantal Keliling

People who come to Jakarta to look for work, generally will look for work in the informal sector. But why? Because formal sector jobs are often limited. As discussed in our series ‘What is Informal?’, informal businesses tend to be small in scale, not legally incorporated and more flexible than their formal sector counterparts.

Bang Arif, for example, came from Purbalingga to Jakarta to work on construction projects such as building new apartments and social housing. His family is still in Purbalingga. However, since the pandemic hit, work on project construction has become increasingly difficult to find, so Bang Arif has changed his mind and become a Mobile Pillow Seller.

Take a read of Rame Rame Jakarta's short chat with Bang Arif!

Good afternoon bro, are you resting?

Yes, it's really hot. Just for a moment.

Are the pillows for sale or just being relocated?

For sale, 25k each.

So how are sales during this pandemic?

I just started selling this at the beginning of the pandemic because it was hard to find another job. I used to work on construction projects, but now I can't get a job. So I started doing this.

Oh I see, so the income is more stable, then?

Not really, maybe 1 or 2 pieces per day get sold, 3 if I’m lucky. Quite often no one wants to buy either, but there is no other choice. I can’t know when these pandemic restrictions will come to an end, but I can't just wait for economic conditions to return to normal.

So the pandemic has really had an impact?

Recently, it's getting more and more difficult, because many people don't want to leave the house, especially the elderly or those who have just given birth. Often they’re the people who want to buy from me.

So you bought a few pillows first and then just tried to sell them?

No, I didn't buy it, but I got it from a friend of mine. I just sell them on for him.

If you want to sell at least one per day, does that mean you have to walk a long way to find new locations?

That's right. I can walk more than 4km per day around South Jakarta like this. I always try to find a different route too, for example through the kampung or on the side of the main road. Today I have walked from Pancoran to Jatinegara.

So are you a South Jakarta native?

No. I'm from Purbalingga. My family is still there, but there’s no work for me, so I live in Jakarta.

Ok Bang, thanks for talking to us. Be careful on your way.

Yup, you're welcome.

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