|By Jorge Tadeo University.|
|On Plaza San Victorino.|
No, they'll hand you a telephone chained to their waist and charge you the minute printed on those signs they're holding up. These people are living, walking telephone booths.
The ubiquitous minuteros result from the expensiveness of Colombia's cellphone industry. Relatively speaking, it can be quite expensive to make calls from your phone, particularly when calling between telephones belonging to different companies. The minuteros buy time in bulk and have phones from all of the companies. The real disadvantage is for the call's recipient, who doesn't know who's calling before answering. But when you want to call up that estranged special somebody who'd never answer if they you it was you, then minuteros come in handy.
|On Carrera 5 in La Candelaria.|
In a nation with high unemployment and a big informal economy, the minute-selling business provides a way to survive for countless people who lack skills or opportunities. But you'll also make a sad observation on the limited opportunities in Colombia's economy by talking to some of the very capable people spend their days standing around with a couple of cell phones chained to their waists and yelling 'minutos!' 'minutos!'
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours