AS A BARBADIAN who travels the ABC Highway daily, I, like many others, am appalled at the rapidly deteriorating standards of vendors on our roads.
Large piles of coconut husks are left to rot on our sidewalks. Some were even strewn across the Simpson Motors Roundabout in Warrens recently, creating a hazard to travellers.
Please don’t tell me these shells are biodegradable. Their untidiness is ugly for a country whose main foreign exchange earner is tourism.
Many of the coconut vendors are unkempt. I know the “poor black man syndrome” is raised every time we mention vendors, but being poor should never be a reason for not pursuing excellence.
These vendors need a few marketing tips from the National Initiative on Service Excellence (NISE), but, as a qualified marketer myself, perhaps I can offer a few free tips.
• If you’re selling coconuts, can’t you wear a nice, broad-rimmed, handmade coconut hat, and have some available for sale as well?
In addition to providing a viable product extension to your coconuts, it would take some of that hot midday sun off your head.
• Why not design a relatively inexpensive “going green” outfit. This would go well with the products you’re selling, and might just make the extra car or two stop and buy.
• As to the unkempt beard and hair, don’t the usual standards for food handling apply to the selling of coconut water and jelly?
MP Denis Kellman made the excellent suggestion of a dedicated place for vending off the highway, which I hope the authorities will adopt.
It could provide a regulated environment for our vendors and avert a major vehicular accident now waiting to happen at our roundabouts.
If we want to have developed country status by 2020 or whenever, we must be proactive. Come on, vendors, we can do better than this – right now!