Monday 23 April 2012 5.45pm
Spartacus, I sense some frustration. Pleade don't be. It is really important to me because i love the Market and it's importance in tjis community. There is a fundamental issue of accountability and not a relentless attack. Bemondsey Boy stated that traders that the tourism element is a problem to traders and is something they cannot control. He also clearly stated that they are responsible for their profit margins, which I have not disagreed with. The trustees recently released a public statement which clearly stated that ' Borough Market
is trying to experiment with wholesale and make markets pleasurable tourist attractions'. In essence the Trustees and management are responsible for strategic direction and I would think that statement clearly shows their intent.
As for the facebooking and twittering, you are right I have not looked at it until this weekend when I found it on their website but the 'meet me at borough for a chorizo roll or lovely pie and gravy and love the mull wine' is probably (don't shout me down) munchers. This is more feel good PR which is not an issue but how are they advertising to me? When I say proper shopper, I mean not there to sample, browse, eat lunch and take photographs for flickr, facebook, twitter or my holiday album. If this issue poses problem to traders and customers like me, should it be ignored! A trader told me that Borough Market
has lost serious shoppers. I thought it was interesting terminology but in context perhaps not.
If there is any frustration it relates to you making apparently unfounded statements / allegations in most of your posts.
I agree the grazing hordes of happy snappers in BM can be a nightmare, particularly from around 10am Saturdays - but at least there are quieter times to shop there. However, I find it bizarre that you object to people being given the chance to browse and sample. Unfortunately, several years ago Time Out magazine stated that one could get a free lunch by grazing around BM, and now shoppers there get barged out of the way by the human locusts as soon as a plate of freebies appears, so to limit their losses many traders now offer samples only to those who show real interest in their products.
However. if 'serious' shoppers are being lost, the tourists are not the only reason - they are just an easy target/excuse. There are other significant factors such as rising production, transport, ingredient and rent costs pushing up the end price, and reduced disposable income for many of us to spend. The only thing not increasing is the wage paid to traders employees!
The general consensus among the smaller traders at BM is that few are making decent profits, and (like it or not) among those that are doing well are the ones able to add a 'street-food' type product to their range. For example, Turnips, the most expensive fruit and veg trader on the market, has now added a salad bar to their juice and hot soup offering. They therefore compete not just with other fruit and veg merchants, but now may take business off the juice and organic salad bar just round the corner! Their products are not just more expensive, they are (imo) inferior, but the larger trader has apparently been allowed to do this, potentially at the expense of the smaller business. (btw, I don't work for either business). If I interpret some of the other posts correctly, there is now an element of street food appearing around Maltby - if so, it didn't take them long.
At first, the retail trade at BM and a few of the new eateries and bars around it were regarded as a 'secret' places, known only to relatively few locals and office workers - much like the reaction to Maltby when it first materialised. We could all give ourselves a hug knowing we were 'first' to spot it and be involved. It seems remarkable now, but about 10 years ago there was serious local debate for and against when it was proposed that the founding BM traders should be able to set up on every Saturday in a month, or on Fridays as well!
Ah, the lovely days not so long ago when one could mooch down to Maltby and get a coffee at Monmouth without queuing down the street behind the hoorays, yummmy mummies and Tristrams and their ghastly offspring..... Trouble is, Monmouth wanted the queues...not a just a few locals who were 'in the know'.
We started chatting about it on SE1, and the publicity machine took over....