Street vendors in Qamishli: Mobile sales as a source of living

Perfume cart in the city of Qamishli - November 15, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Rita al-Ahmad)

Perfume cart in the city of Qamishli - November 15, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Rita al-Ahmad)


On the streets of Qamishli, old carts with glass windows are scattered, carrying various types of goods. The owners stroll around the neighborhoods, using them as a source of income.

Mobile sales carts are spread out in the streets of Qamishli, carrying different clothes and a variety of fruits. They stand along the main roads, and the vendors showcase and sell their products in a creative way that attracts customers’ attention.

Aras Hassan (38 years old) proudly stands in front of his cart selling women’s clothing in a popular market in Qamishli. He speaks loudly to attract the attention of passing women and presents a diverse range of clothes in a creative manner that catches the customers’ eyes.

Hassan praises his profession and considers it the best for him. He believes that women purchase clothes regardless of their difficult financial circumstances because there are many occasions that require new clothes, such as holidays, back-to-school, and social gatherings, which bring him good profits.

He adds that his wife plays an important role in helping him make a profit. They collaborate in purchasing clothes in wholesale, and his wife assists him in selecting the items she believes will generate good sales.

Hassan studied sociology at Damascus University years ago. Due to the difficulty of finding a suitable job, he found the option of the mobile cart suitable for him.

Better sales during occasions

Shibli al-Janid, originally from Aleppo countryside but residing in Qamishli, sells accessories, children’s toys, and school supplies on his mobile cart in the Turkish market of Qamishli.

Al-Janid moves his cart between neighborhoods, searching for areas that attract people’s attention. He says that what he earns from the cart is enough to meet the needs of his family, which consists of three children.

Based on his experience in selling accessories and children’s toys, he considers it a good job compared to his previous work in the construction field, which he left two years ago.

Al-Janid said to Enab Baladi that he works longer hours during annual occasions such as holidays, Ramadan, and others, compared to regular days where he works until 1 pm.

He achieves better sales on days that coincide with occasions and continues working until late hours of the night, trying to provide a living for his family in difficult circumstances.

Bassel al-Sheikh decided to work on a small cart selling perfumes due to the high rent prices of commercial shops, which are associated with the dollar and can reach $300 per month depending on the location and size of the store.

To avoid these high costs, al-Sheikh decided to use a small cart that costs $400, which is equivalent to approximately 5.5 million Syrian pounds, to sell perfumes while moving around the city.

Al-Sheikh previously worked in selling perfumes inside a small barbershop, and from there the idea of developing his business by making it mobile in the markets emerged. He carefully selected the best types and high-quality perfumes to attract customers.

Perfume cart in the city of Qamishli - November 15, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Rita al-Ahmad)

Perfume cart in the city of Qamishli – November 15, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Rita al-Ahmad)

Locals’ opinions

Enab Baladi’s correspondent took a tour in one of the markets in Qamishli and surveyed the opinions of the locals about the presence of carts and “stalls” in the market.

Olaa Elias stated that the scattered carts in the neighborhoods and markets have an uncivilized appearance and negatively affect pedestrians, as they occupy sidewalks and streets.

On the other hand, Khalil Ahmad believes that “stalls” are a main source of income for many people amidst difficult economic conditions.

He added that people prefer to buy from them as they offer cheaper prices compared to commercial stores, making them a suitable choice, especially in light of the current economic challenges.

The exchange rate of the dollar against the Syrian pound reached 14,200 pounds per dollar according to the S-P Today website, a specialized currency exchange rate website.


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