The city of Quincy can't begin enforcing its street vendors ordinance quickly enough. People selling food on street corners is getting worse. And I'm not buying into the excuse that people have to make money the best way they can.
Last Tuesday afternoon I was riding on east Washington Street in the middle of downtown. I looked over toward the old Cititrends store and noticed a vehicle parallel parked with a small and wagon-like attachment. My first thought was that someone was making repairs to one of the buildings. On closer inspection I saw scales, the kind you see in the supermarket, on a pole in the middle of the sidewalk. Since I was stopped in traffic I kept looking. There was a large, white cooler on the back of the wagon.
A few seconds later, a woman walked up and the man pulled out a large bag of shrimp. I don't know what else he had in the cooler but there is something wrong about someone setting up in the middle of the central business district selling raw seafood. I talked with a business owner about an hour later to find out how he felt about the situation.
Not only was he selling from a cooler, he was actually going into stores and offices attempting to sell his wares to anyone who was around. I'm willing to bet he wouldn't go to downtown Tallahassee or anyplace else and start selling food, cooked or uncooked.
A few years back there was a street vendor who had a hotdog cart. It was stainless steel with a cute umbrella. The vendor had his little sink and warmers to keep hot items hot and a place for cold items. He was dressed nice and neatly and was actually an asset to the downtown area. I enjoyed talking to him because, like a lot of street vendors, he had a lot of experiences he didn’t mind sharing.
He stayed here about 3 months before moving on to greener pastures. Someone, he said, enjoyed his hot dogs and suggested he move his cart to Florida State University. FSU's gain was our loss. I wonder if he's still over there with his hot dogs and many toppings.
I'm not against street vendors, as I told a city employee Monday, but I think they should be limited in what they can sell. Certainly raw food, in my opinion, should not be sold in this manner.
I agree with Mayor Andy Gay that until we get a handle on those peddling and selling whatever comes to mind, we're setting ourselves up for one big lawsuit.
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