Street sellers under threat from controversial vending machine plan

April, 29/2022 - 17:04
A controversial proposal to replace street vendors with vending machines has been met with anger by those who rely on the trade.

HÀ NỘI — A controversial proposal to replace street vendors with vending machines has been met with anger by those who rely on the trade.

Hà Nội’s People’s Committee want to place machines at key spots around the capital over the next three years, gradually phasing out street vendors.

As well as food and drinks, the machines will also stock local crafts and souvenirs.

But vendors in Hà Nội say this is a bad idea, and many customers won’t want to shop from machines.

Fruit seller Đặng Thị Lý said: “I don't think this plan will work because customers won't be able to choose fruit or food themselves. Of course, young people will probably prefer vending machines, but middle-aged and old people will prefer to buy in person."

A street vendor sells fruit in Hà Nội. — VNS Photo

Fellow vendor Đỗ Thị Hà added: “If the city installs vending machines now, I will lose my job. My children won’t have enough money to go to school, and if I lose my job I will have to go back to my hometown to work as a farmer.” 

Resident Trịnh Thị Tuyết sided with the vendors.

“Street vendors are a part of Vietnamese culture,” she said. “And street food is also preferred by customers over that from a vending machine."

“The food from the vending machine is not fresh, while the vendors always keep their foods fresh and delicious to serve customers as it is their livelihood.”

Nguyễn Văn Hoàng, a tourist visiting the capital, feels that some food sales do need to be developed.

“This plan will definitely affect the livelihood of street vendors,” he said. “But in the age of technology, people prefer modern machines to street vendors, so their business will definitely be affected. I partly agree with this plan.”

Although vendors are still working the streets of Hà Nội, their future remains uncertain. — VNS