Some Vendors at City Hall Farmers Market are Pissed at Occupy L.A. For Cutting Into Sales
In Los Angeles, it's not police or politicians that want the local Occupy Wall Street movement to disperse: it's some of the local vendors at the Thursday farmers market.
When some of the protesters camped out on the lawn of City Hall refused to make way for the vendors' typical Thursday lunchtime set-up, the farmers market decided to move across the street. Some vendors just decided not to come to the Thursday farmers market at all. Others came back to their new spot, but they weren't very happy with their sales. Protests, it turns out, are bad for business.
"I think the protesters were really hoping for more free food last week, and the farmers were hoping they would shop, which they didn't," Susan Hutchinson, the farmers market manage, told the Los Angeles Times.
One of the most vocal critics of the Occupy L.A. folks was a kettle corn vendor, who said sales are down 50 percent. The vendor Elana Besserman told NBC LA, "People don't really want to come out when there's protests and people are yelling and screaming."
She added: "I think it's unfortunate when it's hurting people who are not the one percent, such as myself and the other vendors here."
Stacey Swinne, a protester who took part in the discussions, said the small minority of protesters who refused to move their tents were afraid that the city was trying to clear them from the lawn, even though that ended up not being the case. She said, "Occupy Los Angeles is completely in solidarity with local farmers. There was no intention or desire to displace them at all."
Some customers were sympathetic to the vendors, while others didn't see the problem: "I don't think it matters much whether it's on this side or that side," said Jeffrey Bortnoy.