Those vendors on the pedestrian mall in San José may be doing better financially than first impressions would suggest.
Fuerza Pública officers got suspicious when they approached one vendor Wednesday because he fled. His goods, mostly agricultural products, were left behind.
But that is not all. Officers found 24 baggies of marijuana.
That some street vendors are really selling drugs is an open secret in the downtown. One merchant there chuckled and pointed to the German-made automobile driven by one seller of cigars.
The pedestrian malls downtown are war zones between municipal police officers and vendors. The police come. The vendors roll up their merchandise in a ground cloth and move on. The police leave. The vendors come back.
The items for sale include produce, socks, hats for children, leather goods, CDs, sweaters and similar. Prices are good. The vendors pay no rent or sales tax. Many are foreigners.
The vendor who fled police Wednesday had made a mistake. Usually the drugs are somewhere else, and those vendors who really are dealers, fetch the illegal substances for individual customers.