Saturday, October 31, 2009

landing again and norwich market

i'm safe and resituated at james' brother's place. closer into town, more urban, less suburban; so i've been getting the medieval city experience: on foot everywhere, market shopping, rubbing elbows, cobblestones, flint walls and churches, two pubs round the corner, baby crying through the wall...i've bought a computer, on which i type as we speak, from a friend of juliette's who happened to be moving/downsizing her life---good timing!

more about norwich market: official link here...

about 190 stalls set out in a grid in the middle of a square...everything you could think of buying: hardware, tools, clothes, food [prepared and otherwise], produce, meat, fish, veg, books, things ethnic, etc...

it really hit home to me just how much we pay for convenience at a supermarket [in every way]! what alerted me to this thought was the lack of having-been-hit-over-the-head [by stimuli as well as price] sensation i usually get in, and on the way out of, supermarkets. yes, there's quite a bit of stimulation in a tightly-packed marketplace, but it doesn't make me dizzy like the huge box-stores. the difference? i suppose no pulsating lights over head and a much smaller, more intimate [human] scale. also, concerning price: when you walk into a supermarket, you enter a monolith and a store [competing against itself]....and if you don't like the prices or products you, uh, drive really far to the next one, since so much land is needed to build on such a scale. but, in a marketplace, you enter multiplicity and directness, which, economically speaking, foster competition and hence, lower prices or just a short stroll to the next merchant...

simply, there's no hiding...there's accountability, an actual person to interface with---to direct feedback to, both good and bad...customer and proprietor quickly evolve together in this short feedback loop...yes, large corporations take customer comments/suggestions but with their allegiances divided between customers and shareholders...customers are everything to a small merchant. the larger a company gets, the more leverage it has in every way and can impose its will as monoliths are wont to do, from the top down. a merchant getting power-hungry will probably find himself lonely, alienated and unsuccessful...

think: if we're trying to run our lives like corporations---taking cues from our economic surroundings...could this be more of a reason for widespread loneliness and alienation then the abstract hobbyhorses usually given [e.g. corrosion of family values---which could really be caused by behaving large companies in our personal lives]?

no, market life isn't for everyone in all locations! the geography might not allow for it [vast distances to travel]...the sociology [no one at home to take the time to shop, plan and prepare meals]...whew! i do bang on, don't i? ;-)


  1. That picture reminds me of the Field of the Cloth of Gold. You didn't happen to wrestle a French king while you were there, did you?

  2. didn't get the reference...but laughed anyway ;-)