In-Car Shopping

Question: What is one thing Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta have in common?


Answer: They are all big, noisy, smoky and the traffic is a real bitch.

However, I did notice one thing special about Jakarta that other places don’t. It is perhaps the only place I know of in this part of the world, where people take advantage of the ridiculous traffic jams on the road, and turn it into a profit-making opportunity.

Everyone’s heard of in-flight shopping.


In Jakarta, you can do in-car shopping.

Traffic in the Indonesian capital is so bad that during peak hours, it could take up to 30 minutes just to travel a short 2km journey. And the Jakarta people are wise enough to take advantage of that. Often times, there will be throngs of people standing by the roadside and as soon as the vehicles to stop, these people pounce on them selling all sorts of mumbo jumbo that they’re carrying.


Travelling from North to South Jakarta, I was approached by so many of these roadside peddlers that if I were to buy just ONE item from each of them, I could open up a 7-Eleven store by the time I get off my cab.

Seriously, these people sell all sorts of things.


From books…


To tiny Indonesian flags…


To toy helicopters…


To peanuts…


To porno…

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82 Replies to “In-Car Shopping”

  1. hahaha. true.
    As someone who’ve lived in Jakarta for more than 15 years, i admit tht the traffic can be really sucks.
    There was once i stuck for 2++ amid jam when i was supposed to arrive in jst 45 MINS!
    nevertheless, i still love J*town! πŸ™‚

  2. Lol. Porn magazine are available in Indonesia? I thought they very strict in handling the porn issues since it is an islamic country .

  3. Ong Tee Keat please do something about our country’s traffic. It is ironic that a country as small as Singapore has better traffic conditions than us.

  4. It’s true, we Indonesians are experts at finding new ways to make money, although its usually not much money.
    Other ways to make money from Jakarta’s traffic congestion:
    * Walk into an intersection during the jam and start directing traffic for tips – there are heaps of people who do this, my cousin did it for 30 mins and got about Rp40,000.
    * Hire yourself out as a passenger, so lone drivers can use the roads designated for 2 or more car occupants only. All the streetkids do this.
    Btw, the picture of the porn salesman is classic. He looks exactly like a porn-dealer should.

  5. Wow, this is something new.
    Even the centre of the sex hub in Japan doesn’t have this kind of thing.
    So Kenny, did you get some Indon porn back to Kch?

  6. LOL! Never tought they would have sell porn mags freely in Indonesia.
    The idea of in-car selling is very interesting. I think we used to have window-wiper around in Kuching.

  7. kenny, heard u r coming melbourne at this coming merdeka day, might be able to see u.
    Never know they can sell porno at street, i always thought they r a strict islamic country. And never know that indonesia got porn industry.

  8. excuse me Kenny but these are not only available in Jakarta but in most cities there like MEDAN & BANDUNG!! just for info k and the range is like those available in Jakarta….

  9. the prono seller really have to check out all the passangers and drivers before proceeding in selling to make sure that the buyers are males, don’t they…
    i think its quite a dangerous job, making bee-line between traffic jams and trying focus on earning money as well as the road condition could really be tiring..

  10. Sometime i just wondered how safe is the In-car shopping… When i was in Uganda Africa, I never bother to wide down the car windows coz i was shocked by a small child when he placed his hand into the car and in front of me asking for money… It’s was a very scary moment… πŸ™

  11. The same thing happen in Bali also. All sorts of things they sold. They sell newspapers….outdated chinese newspapers from previous 1-2 years…and one my tour group auntie went “Cilaka!” after the traffic light went green, js in time for the peddler to walk away.

  12. It happens in Phillipines too. But not porno.
    They mostly sell foods and those kids even get straight up to you to ask for moneys and some even hop into the bus to preach the gospel then ask for donation.

  13. Kenny, even your hometown will become as congested like that one day if the malaysian government does not improve its public transport system and control private vehicle usage.

  14. well, when i was in mexico, apart from in-car shopping, we have in-car entertainment as well.
    we can see ppl clowing around, juggling things, fire eating, etc.

  15. Kenny try to go Phils. not only you could open a 7 eleven but a supermarket. Street peddlers there sells orange, mango, apples, pillows,newspapers, bottled water,face towels, kids clothing,junk foods, kueh, etc!

  16. lol…so that is how innovative Jakarta is. Making a traffic jam into a market.
    The funniest part is the porno one. Can’t believe they terang2 sell it out, hahaa…..

  17. I’m interested in the vest the last street seller was wearing. I cant see the words sewn very clearly but if it says “Suara Pembangunan”, I have to take my hats of the city for their “development methods”. πŸ˜€

  18. Hi Kenny
    Seems you always miss out The Philippines. Manila have the same common things you Mention. Its Big, Noisy, Smoky And have Killer Traffic Also! XD
    And they have In-Car shopping as well!

  19. lol..
    i live in jakarta, so things like that is normal for me
    BUT that porno magazine is kinda shocking. I know lots of them selling magazine with boobies all over the cover, but i’ve never seen one like the one you saw there..very lucky one you lah, kenny..hahahaha
    btw, that green building with UOB Bank signage is near to my place..teehee

  20. When I was in Bali, I saw ppl at the roadsides selling newspaper wrapped with plastic bags during traffic jam.
    The driver told us not to get con, there’s a lot which the seller put plain white paper in the middle.
    No wonder they put newspaper into plastic bags!

  21. hey guys, does anyone of you know who is the owner of the car with the number plate ‘MAQ 4910’.
    I saw this person beating up a woman in his car while driving out of Sunway Pyramid’s carpark between 8.30p.m – 9p.m on 14th August.
    I think he slapped, punched her and pushed her head towards the window more than 10 times during the time that he took to drive out of Pyramid’s carpark.

  22. just clarify that indonesia not islamic country πŸ™‚
    they had the most population islamic country but not Islamic country

  23. Haiyo, kennysia, you never experience this in Sarawak izit? Back in the old days when ferries are very much alive (Kuching-Lundu/Sematan, Sibu-Durin/Lanang) people were selling keropok, food, drinks and newspaper, even Red Crescent Donation! while waiting for the ferry to come. Now already replaced by bridges so no more in-car service…

  24. Its not really proud that Jakarta is really worst in term of traffic compare to Malaysia / Singapore. But still Jakarta is the dream city for a lot of village peoples to try their luck to live. Those who doesn’t have their “luck” will end up like that.:(

  25. kenny, not only indonesia have this kind of traffic shopping but also Shanghai..
    i purchased the newspaper, dinner set, fruits, drinks in the cab.

  26. It’s actually in the whole of Indonesia there is In-Car Shopping!! hehehe. If u take the public transport like bus or angkot u can get buskers serenading songs to you and ask u for money after that. Hehehe. The way people make a living in Indonesia is colourful!

  27. hahaha very good one Kenny πŸ™‚ I remember one of my Aussie friend said about these street vendors : wow, Indonesians people are so creative, they just find so many ways to make money LOL….! In many countries you probably see many street kids begging etc, but in Jakarta the street kids not only begging, they work, selling magazine, newspaper, singing (some are pretty good too hehe..), sell things etc. And the other comment from him: they work so hard, n never stop working.. really, rain or shine you will see these street vendors continue selling their stuff.

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