We've all been there at one time or another. A leisurely trip to the local market suddenly turns sour and brings you to the point of panic. Unexpectedly, a market trader and your good self have made brief eye contact. He/she has smiled pleasantly with a hopeful look that you will come over and look at their goods on display. Your heart beat increases exponentially and in your 'fight or flight' state your eyes dart around left and right looking for that distraction that will get you off the hook. You only came down for a loaf of bread and some veggie goodies, you never expected to be caught in the gaze of someone who wants you to buy from them. Never fear, this blog post will give you four quick and easy guides on walking through a market keeping your dignity intact.
( 1 ) The Uncompromising approach. You go to the market and focus only on the stall that you want to buy from. Your eyes never stray from the path and you don't even bat an aye as you walk over, benches, children and animals to get to your ultimate goal. Just make sure that you don't have to cross a busy road too, that can get messy.
(2) The abstract approach. You walk through the market with eyes fixed on the ground as if you are carrying the gravity of the world on your shoulders only deviating at the last second to dart to the stall you actually buy from. It is very important that you don't look up at any stage. Once the purchase has been made it's back to eyes on the ground again until you are in the clear.
( 3 ) The stealth approach. This method requires a small bit more planning and can even take you off your intended path. Careful study of the best and most direct route to the stall you want to get to is necessary. You may even squeeze between 2 stalls close to your intended target. Check how many stall owners may see you walking by and wait for them to turn away or drink from their coffee cup before moving. Quickly dart over to your destination. If you are seen, don't worry. Just wave to an invisible entity in the direction you are going as if it is one of your friends and leg it.
( 4 ) The preemptive approach. Instead of being caught in a gaze, go straight to each stall and have a nose. Pass a comment or too and then move on. You can put icing on the cake here by promising to come back or saying that you will 'keep them in mind'. This approach gets you off the hook on the day but may cause trouble at a later date when you are recognized.
Choosing the right approach is entirely up to you so weigh up the pros and cons wisely.
This has been a 'tongue in cheek' post but there is a more serious note behind it. Market Traders like Teachers and Police get very good at spotting behaviours in people walking by them. We often see the thought process behind every 'look' and 'look away'. It is not our intention to goad you into a sale and we don't want to make you feel uncomfortable.
None of us like to part with money we don't have but people forget that small business owners struggle to make ends meet each week. Money you spend in a small business goes towards that person's family and generally stays in the local community. You can still do your big shopping in one of the big multi-national stores (where the money goes abroad) but give a small thought for the small market trader.
Even €5 spent every now and again could make a huge difference to their lives and won't kill you in the process. If everyone did this regularly, small businesses would thrive. Go to a different stall every week and at least have a chat with the foodies/crafters. You might even be surprised that you will find the perfect gift for someone to mark a special occasion. A locally handmade product is far more special than some imported plastic rubbish.
Buy smart, buy local. Support local businesses today!