Item author
Ellen Sturm
Item Created
27 Sep 2009
Photo taken on
22 May 2009 1:55 am
Photo author
Ellen Sturm

A shoe shiner takes benefit from the waiting people at the bus station - they become clients of his service

Context of the observation

A shoeshiner took a seat on a few stones, located on a muddy place right between a big street and two bus stations. He has numerous brushes and shoe creams with himself and spread around him and even bags with more ‘tools’, probably cloth to polish the shoes with. He is serving a customer, while another is already waiting in line, other people rush by without interest. Shoeshiners can be seen all over the city and at first one might wonder why there are so many shoeshiners. But pretty quickly it becomes obvious: While you can’t really distinguishes where somebody comes from, from what they are wearing, people from the slums or at least not so rich parts or the city are way more likely to have muddy or dusty shoes. Having your shoes cleaned eliminates these traces of poverty. It was quite early in the moning and the bus station and a very big market were nearby, the place was buzzing with life, even if the sun just rose.




2 Questions & 0 Responses

How does a mobile workplace affect the social mobility of a worker?

Ellen Sturm
27 Sep 2009

How does this type of job depend on the weather? Assuming that previous rain raises the job options - what are the shoe shiners doing if there has been no rain previously - do they "switch" to ther comparable jobs?

Philipp Heidkamp
24 Oct 2010