Paula Gueory, 19, unemployed, D.C. native, Mount Pleasant: "It's a way of life in all parts of D.C., but in Northwest it's really big. That's where everybody comes to do business. When you walk down the street a person will approach you and ask if you want to buy something. I don't think the selling of hot goods is ever going to stop, especially with this inflation being so high. John Lewis Jr., 60, musician, Ivy City-Trinidad: "It's all over, but different sections of the city do more, others do less. I would say Northeast and Southeast have the greatest volume of business. The selling of hot goods has to do with personal priorities. the first concern of people who need something that they can't get ordinarily is to get it as cheap as possible. So they buy it hot. They feel they can get it cheaper and more conveniently since it's brought right to them." Fred Adinolfi, 34, a scientist for the Department of Interior, Georgetown: "The selling of hot goods is a way of lif for some people. (But) people in Georgetown aren't looking for bargains. They're looking for stylish things at whatever the cost. I would negotiate a deal with someone if it was something I needed. Usually, the stuff they carry is watches, TVs, jewelry, which I don't need." Peggy Rolnick, 33, lawyer, Goergetown: "I think there's a large market for it. People who want to get something for less will do it any way they can. The don't ask questions. People I know have been some satisfied customers of hot goods peddlers. Some have bought Cartier watches for a fraction of what they cost in a store. A guy I know bought his wife a diamond engagement ring that way." Dennis Early, 24, a congressional staff assistant, Capitol Hill: "I stay mostly in the Capitol Hill area and I don't know of much selling of hot goods. But, I'm sure it's going on. In certain sections of the city -- low-income sections -- it would be more widespread than it is in the Capitol Hill area." William Jackson, 23, a cook, Capitol Hill: "If anybody has something hot that's reasonably nice he can sell it in D.C. The area doesn't matter. It's about catching someone who would be willing to negotiate a bargain. It's not too hard to find someone like that. I'd buy something hot. The average person won't turn down a good deal. The person selling the goods doesn't necessarily have to be hooked up on drugs. You have to do what you can to eat. Certain people set limitations; certain people go further." Madelyn Reiss, 30, an assistant clothing store clerk, Capitol Hill: "I don't know how widespread it is. I've never been approached, but members of my family have been approached right in front of our house on Capitol Hill. I thing I would call the police if someone asked me to buy something I though was stolen because we've had a lot of things stolen from us and I'd like to see the thieves get caught." Darrell Anderson, 19, laborer, Anacostia: "You can buy hot goods just about anywhere in the city. Probably one block around the Capitol would be the only place excluded. People who sell the stuff have tight budgets they're trying to live on so they're forced to steal. But, it's turning into a way of life for more than the budget-conscious, low-status people . . . I wouldn't buy hot goods. I don't mess around with that." Eddie Williams, 15, Eastern High School sophomore, Southwest: "I see people selling hot goods very often. I'd say three out of 10 people would buy. Half of the people who sell hot goods must be on drugs. Think of all the stuff they've got to go through to steal. The other half just need the money. Their family must not be making enough money."
Washington Post staff writer Edward D. Sargent and free-lance photographer Lisa Berg conducted this week's street interviews. Most of the persons interviewed, not all of whom appear here, said they have been approached at least once by a hot goods peddler.