Sunday 16 October 2011

Why I Love This Place: No.2 – The Customers

Guiseppe is a business man from Milan who visits the market every year or so and is just one example of  our huge range of customers. I have served polo players from Argentina, office workers from Guang Zho, bankers from Singapore, mountain men from Nepal, and Formula 1 groupies from Monte Carlo. There are miners from West Australia and earthquake victims from Christchurch. Even the variety changes as Mainland China takes over from Japan in the numbers stakes.
Of course there are plenty of locals too - faces that we see regularly who obviously love this place and keep on coming back. They tend to have a different mindset because they can think about things and come back next week. Tourists, on the other hand, need to make a decision in a shorter time frame – bless them. 
I love the look on the face of a Frenchman when I say "Bonjour" (even if it is the only French word I know) and a Chinese person when I hand their change back with both hands in the traditional way. I love chatting about the weather with Queenslanders who have just got off the plane in shorts and T-shirts on a chilly Melbourne morning and I love identifying competitive sporting fans and discussing their passion before a big game in Melbourne. 
We are lucky that most of our customers are tourists, on a holiday, and in a good mood. They are relaxed, usually friendly, and happy to engage in discussion. Of course there are days when nothing seems to be going right and you get asked for the tenth time "Are you always here?”  That’s usually the day that Giuseppe will call in to my stall and, in broken English, thank me for mailing that parcel to his home in Milan after his last visit to Melbourne 12 months ago. He loves the look of the product as it sits in his  window overlooking the piazza, and he needs to order another one. I think - thank you Guiseppe, no wonder I love working in this place.