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Borough Market in the Washington Post

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Monday 2 April 2007 12.07am
Monday 2 April 2007 8.36am
I was there around the middle of the day on Saturday it was jammed to the roof and horrendous...couldnt get near the stalls and it was, alas, not the experience we knew and loved before the people watchers arrived.
Monday 2 April 2007 10.03am
Indeed. Although I am pretty new to living in SE1, I have been coming to Borough Market for many years. It seems to have become overwhelmingly popular, and there are always lots of people there who don't seem to have any intention of buying anything, but regard it simply as a tourist attraction to be combined with, say, Shakespeare's Globe and Tate Modern and the Imperial War Museum. The write-up in the Post says plenty about produce (and what it costs), but I can't say I'm necessarily thrilled at the idea of the market becoming a sort of organic version of the magnificent tourist trap that is Fortnum & Mason.
Monday 2 April 2007 12.23pm
I help run a stall selling Scottish Foods at the market and the gawpers and grazers are definitely on the increase. The situation will only worsen for food SHOPPERS as the weather warms; the number of guidebooks is on the up. (Advice: Arrive early, even before the stated start times of noon on Friday and 9am on Saturday.) I like people sampling our food if they are interested in it. I object when some lard-arsed trougher gulps a mouthful of their coffee and follows it at speed with a handful of organic smoked salmon, snatched whilst avoiding eye-contact and doing a turn that would win a medal in an Olympic swimming final. The Washington Post article is wonderful: 'Many of the wares are not cheap' followed by 'I ate and was entertained for hours, filling up on free samples'. (No doubt the irony went undetected.) Still, I suppose we can count ourselves lucky the writer wasn't armed, in uniform and claiming to be here to liberate us.
Monday 2 April 2007 12.30pm
You made me laugh, Pump House Jon - in a good way, not a bad one. I hadn't spotted the irony you identified. I have had a free sample at Borough Market precisely three times. I go to shop and actually find it surprising, great though the market is, that it magnetizes the guide book crowd.
Monday 2 April 2007 2.06pm
Shopping in the market is turning into a nightmare because of all the grazers. as a former market trader selling food I suggest that banning the offering of free samples on stalls is a good move, I never gave anything away and used to sell pounds of sausage. Maybe a designated area for samples that you pay to enter perhaps with vouchers to redeem cost on proof of a purchase. Maybe an extra hour or two of trading or an extra day. I know that these can cause problems for traders work schedules and lives but I know that you get used to getting up at 4o'c.
Monday 2 April 2007 2.11pm
But surely all of you with houses around here are benefiting from tidy price rises, due at least in part to the surge (ooops - I'm not from the Washington Post, promise. The word just slipped out) popularity of places like B Market.

You can't have it both ways.

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 2 April 2007 3.04pm
Plus... I think that the market being established as a tourist hotspot is likely to help ensure minimal disruption / change with the expansion of the station, so it can only be a good thing for the market in the long run, right?

I love shopping at the market and when I am doing my shopping, always go early before the crowds arrive. But equally, when I have friends visiting from out of town or overseas, I like to take them when it IS crowded and bustling.

But then, I only ever take a free sample of chocolate brownie, and always buy a couple as well, so I don't really have anything to say on the free samples discussion!
Monday 2 April 2007 7.24pm
Mlis wrote:
Plus... I think that the market being established as a tourist hotspot is likely to help ensure minimal disruption / change with the expansion of the station, so it can only be a good thing for the market in the long run, right?

Not sure what you are getting at here - I assume you are referring to the proposed viaduct and the associated destruction of buildings either side of Borough High Street, including many that border the BM area. Just how could the market being a tourist 'hotspot' minimise any disruption from construction work? If Network Rail get the money to build this section of 'Thameslink 2000' they will do what they need to get it built, with little regard for the continuity for good trading conditions for a few traders in BM, no matter what assurances they up with.

Pump House Jon - your summary of the behaviour patterns of what has become the typical BM browser is spot on, based on my own experience as a part time 'helper' myself. The Washington Post article does the place no favours - however the first guilty party in promoting BM as a place to get a free lunch was Time Out a couple of years ago. Trudys suggestion of a ban on samples may be worth trying, but as many 'grazers' are stuffing their faces with a range of fast food, which obviously produces a very healthy profit margin for [an increasing] number of traders, and long queues that help make the market so difficult to navigate, plus a horrendous amount of rubbish - which is often deposited by the 'shopping' public on any convenient part of a stallholders display that they can find. There is no excuse for the latter - there are bins to be found with a little effort, and some traders will gladly dispose of the rubbish for you, because it means it doesn't then end up being incorporated in their product display! My suggestion to add to the pot - those retailers who also sell fast food of some kind contribute to funding one or more litter pickers to patrol the market at peak times???
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