For millions of people who work informally in Jakarta, it is not uncommon to need to add essential goods or materials for business operations. Fortunately, there is a secondary informal business specifically to serve the needs of other informal businesses, namely retail bicycles. Mr. Tatang has loyal customers along his route, so his business has an important role in your meal, even though you’ve never interacted with him directly.
Hello Pak, good morning. Are you taking a break?
Yeah, just for a moment, the traffic is totally jammed so I can’t go anywhere anyway.
Oh yeah, that must be annoying if you’re riding this kind of bike. What are you selling, Pak Tatang?
I sell warteg retail supplies, all kinds of stuff. Oil, sugar, coffee, sauce, plastic bags, whatever the warregs need.
So specifically to serve warteg, then, Pak?
Not exclusively, I sell to street vendors too, or kiosks if they call me over. But my main customers are wartegs because they need the most goods, right? There is always a need for something, but there’s no way to go all the way to the market if you’ve got customers waiting to be served food as well, right?
That's right Pak. So where have you ridden this bike from?
I live in Pasar Baru, and I follow this route every day, passing through Kebon Sirih, Cikini, Senen, and then return home.
That’s pretty far, Pak. What time do you leave for such a route?
I'm on the road at 3 am. The wartegs need to cook early in the morning, right, but then in the afternoon I can go home. It's only 1 o'clock now and I have already started my way home, I just have to go through Lewat first.
If I may ask, how did you start selling like this?
I'm from Tasik, we all work like this. If you see someone selling warung supplies on a bicycle like this, it’s almost always a person from Tasik. It's normal for people from there.
So your family is still in Tasik, then?
That's right. I get the chance to go home once a month, but other than that, I stay in Jakarta.
Ok Pak, thank you very much. Be careful on the way.
Yes you're welcome.