Friday, November 20, 2015

Three little piggies

There's a market in every town. It is the centre of the community. Life is drawn together in these places. The Piazza is where the community share; their goods, their time, their stories, a little drama and some happiness.
People hustle and bustle, push and shove, look and listen, bargain and buy. Everyone is tempted; everyone is a possible client.
But there are rules.

"Non maneggiare la frutta!" the woman calls. "Tutto รจ buono".
I obey and move on.

"This is the best leather in all of Florence".
The young man speaks several languages until he gets a gleam of recognition, then continues fluently in Oxford English to explain the in's and out's of the leather industry.
I look convinced and move on.

Many of the traditional community markets have bee replaced by the more profitable tourist market. These trade to the well financed traveller, looking less for a bargain and more for a remembrance of their Grande Turismo.

The wares are softer and so is the approach. A gentle, softly coloured scarf is best sold by feel and with feeling than the harsh barking of a hawker.

Behind the scenes there is another life. The dealers and wheelers navigate the back stalls with their sale books and swollen wallets. This is business which ever way you look. The business of selling is what keeps the community alive. It matters not who buys and for what reason.
The large cities flourish on the tourist fare. When they buy, the people eat and sleep more securely. Their reason for getting up early each morning is the same as the tourists: to be with the market. to feel the vibrancy under their skin, to transact a sale where everyone is content with the price.
And there is always a discount.

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