It’s the Christmas sales pitches for me!
The Christmas and New Year’s holidays in Jamaica always bring a great deal of cheer and hope.
When you travel across the length and breadth of the island there are interesting and dynamic interactions.
The commercial spaces are vibrant with various levels of advertising. There are the loudspeaker sound systems with prerecorded ads itemising each product and price. You can get a “boyfriend” jeans and one for any size from a pin to the largest shape just by travelling along the road. Food items are labelled so that you can swiftly purchase with limited dialogue regarding pricing.
In other byways there is just the holler or the ready mix of music. Others have open dances and on the spot rhythm original jingles.
Passing the patty shop, in one zone, the offering is an extra cheese and beef patty “if you are pregnant”. No one knows for sure exactly how the vendor would measure or “test” such a customer. But all is fair in getting the attention of the clientele.
Items of “special” clothing are labelled with superhero and heroine properties. Thus, the new prices for the season. The passing saleswoman declares to the entire street that you are “mi customer”.
Exacting sales is serious business, and no one takes kindly to you mulling around with indecision marked all over your face. The strategies are varied, but in the dark of the night I was twisting around to literally “grab” a cab while in the thick of things was a fruit seller on his cart with very ripe bananas. He shouted into the crowd: “Is alright, you all go buy bag and boot and dead fi hungry.”
Someone I guess has to pump reality with a twist of sarcasm to keep spendthrifts in check.
All in all, the colour, the lights, the hustle and bustle-particularly in the Kingston downtown district-place a great grin on the face. Despite other recorded vicissitudes, it is a live show beyond the magnitude of any carnival worldwide.
Happy holidays, Jamaica.
Helen-Ann Elizabeth Wilkinson