With every other Lek, Noi and Somchai selling fruit on Pattaya’s streets, Nutjira Bangnimnoi didn’t fare well when she tried the same thing – until she dressed up as one.
Decked out in a colorful “ngo pa”, or wild rambutan outfit, Nutjira found a whole new market for her oranges, vegetables and mushrooms. Not only does she sell a lot of produce for 20 baht each or more, she often gets tips, especially from foreigners impressed with her costume and English skills.
Nutjira said she learned English from a former foreign boyfriend and appeared on a television talent show as a singer. She didn’t win the contest, but did take home enough cash to buy her street cart and her first load of inventory.
Sales, however, disappointed when she began. With many people out of work, a lot of Pattaya residents have turned to street sales. So she came up with the idea to stand out from the crowd with her rambutan getup, which is patterned on a fabled Thai children’s story.
Thais recognized the character while foreigners just recognized her as oddball, but it was enough to spark steady sales.
Nutjira said she donates food to the needy when she can, but urges everyone facing hard times not to give up and think outside the box to find a new income.