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Fruit, Veg and Proust.


A question of sales and marketing...


In the middle of a busy market, a man sits behind a table which is covered in fruit and vegetables. He is quietly reading ‘In Search of Lost Time’ by Proust. Passers-by occasionally finger his produce and buy four bananas or three apples. Each time he makes a sale, he puts down his book, sighs, bags the goods, takes the cash, and nods politely to the shopper. He will never know where they bought their coat from, or how warm it is, or whether those boots are waterproof. He will not know if they are sisters, or she is a granny, or he is planning a special dinner with those leeks. In between customers, he is sometimes able to read two or maybe three uninterrupted pages. Lost in Proust, he sometimes misses an undecided hoverer...


In the middle of a busy market place, a man stands at the front of his table, which is covered in fruit and vegetables. He has no books, he has no chair. He is bustling and tweaking his produce. His bananas are well known to everyone in the market because even the man who sells hats opposite the shoe-shop at the bottom of the row can hear him describe their value. He throws in an apple for the little boy whose mother bought six oranges, and he knows that her coat came from Marks and that no, silly, that’s my mum. Even as he flourishes the bags he tells the man handling the leeks that to wrap them in ham and smother them with cheese would be to bring them to the life for which they were intended. Straightest leeks. From a farm in mid-Wales with NO STONES. Even as he regales and winks, he scopes the aisles. Pears for your health. More vitamin C in that spud from Norfolk than a bottle of tablets, AND easy to peel.


In the end a potato is a potato. A tomato is a tomato and by this reasoning, a leek is a leek is a leek. They are not exclusive to anywhere. There is no huge disparity in price. In order to sell them, it may be enough to simply put them on a table where people walk past. People know what they want, don’t they?


If that was the case, we’d all have time to read stories by Proust, instead of engaging with the customers and telling stories of our own...


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