Despite the annoyance caused by street vendors in Hoi An, who constantly approach and aggressively promote their products to tourists, the international community has expressed empathy for these peddlers. In the comment section of a recent article on this issue by Tuoi Tre News, visitors have left kind words for the vendors.

The top comment, written by Nicholas Miller from New Zealand, acknowledges the vendors’ desperate need to make a living and encourages others to empathize with their situation. Similarly, James Thorpe, an Australian reader, understands their struggles and emphasizes their need to earn a livelihood.

Christine Livesey, a resident of Ho Chi Minh City, sympathizes deeply with the challenges faced by street vendors. She expresses her support for them and their difficult lives.

Margaret Anne McCormack, another Australian reader, specifically appeals for empathy towards lottery ticket vendors. She highlights that many of them are elderly individuals who rely on selling tickets to sustain themselves. McCormack urges others to imagine their own grandmothers in a similar position and advocates for kindness.

Tourists visit Hoi An Ancient Town in Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam. Photo: S.C. / Tuoi Tre

Jessica Tran, an Australian resident, emphasizes that purchasing goods from street vendors directly contributes to their financial well-being. She explains that these vendors rely on this income to cover their rent, food, utility bills, and most importantly, educational fees for their children. Tran points out that education is not free in Southeast Asia, and all vendors aspire for their children to receive an education.

In light of this, Tran and other readers provide advice on how to handle the issue of street vendors in Hoi An. They suggest politely declining the vendors’ offers and moving on without taking things too seriously. Joss Huot, who has been living in Ho Chi Minh City since 2018 and has been visiting Vietnam since 2006, recommends using the phrase “Khong cam on” (No, thanks) with a smile. Huot believes that maintaining a respectful and friendly attitude towards the vendors will encourage them to leave tourists alone.

One reader, Tony Ryan from Australia, even went a step further by inviting elderly peddlers to join him for a meal when they approached him during his restaurant dining experience.