The woman drops the bottles into a red plastic bag and hands it to the man. She doesn't charge 10 cents. The reporter gives her three dollar bills. But as she fishes for the change, he points to a container of apple juice and says, "I'll take the apple juice and you keep that." The woman nods vigorously.

Suddenly there is a shout. "She took my food! She took my food!" One of the elderly women has become frantic. Several witnesses eagerly announce what happened: A "community ambassador," working for a local economic development agency to help monitor Market Street, snagged a juice container from the lady's cart.

"You shouldn't be selling this!" the ambassador, a young woman, says to her. "This isn't right!" The crowd, drawn to the spectacle and expanding by the second, begins to choose sides. "They shouldn't be doing that," a middle-aged woman whispers to the man beside her. "What is this, a police state?" another voice exclaims.

The buzz of debate grows louder – the ambassador justifying her action, the seller repeating, "She took my food," and the bystanders trying to sort out the philosophical conflict – until a pair of police officers, walking their beat, arrives at the scene. They speak to the woman (in either Cantonese or Mandarin), then address her peers. The crowd watches as the women pack their goods into carts and file away, around the corner of Seventh Street, out of sight.

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8 comments
Lisa Quail
Lisa Quail

Yep, all the time on Market and Seventh. Its pretty sad that people who really need it don't get it, and then there are those who get it and sell it. I think those folks selling on Market and Seventh, ought to be fined and not be able to get food from the food bank for 6 months for the 1st offense, 12 months for the 2nd offense, and for the 3rd offense, they should not be able to get anything for life.

awayneramsey
awayneramsey topcommenter

Several years ago, some of us were introduced to two legal rules that apply to gifts. Simply stated, the giver decides the use of conditional gifts and the receiver decides the use of unconditional gifts. The elderly Asian ladies who congregate near 7th and Market Streets to sell gifted goods are not capitalists. They are entrepreneurs, and one can experience this sort of thing in other parts of the world, including Mexico and India, etc. where poverty is the rule and not the exception.

cryingmad
cryingmad

This kind of black market activity is infuriating on many levels.   We know families that are hungry but they can't get to a Food Pantry, its sickening to hear about this kind of behavior. The typical person that goes to a Food Bank is there because they are hungry.  We know because in the past our family needed and received assistance, but now consider it a privilege to give back to others that need a hand up.

Any individual that takes more food than they need and sells it, is no better than a thug.  


Sandy Yagi
Sandy Yagi

I quit donating money to the SF Food Bank and give to other charities because of what this article points out

Dallas DeBurger
Dallas DeBurger

I'm just waiting for the time that whatever companies or organizations donate this food to the pantries cut them off because of this. Wasn't it around thanksgiving last year that food banks were soliciting donations for turkeys because they did not have enough? I believe it was because federal funding got cut.

Dallas DeBurger
Dallas DeBurger

Yes...all the time around market and 7th street. They know its wrong and still do it...the food banks are also aware and still allow it. It's stealing plain and simple and causing someone else that may really need it to go without.

Chris Hicks
Chris Hicks

Who the fuck are you to be mad about immigrant Chinese ladies trying to survive?

 

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