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3.30am – 4.30am
Alarm goes off – Rise & Shine!
You’re up before the sun, bleary-eyed & packing the esky with your cold tasters (prepared the night before) & coconut yoghurt, loading it into the car (where your market kit is already packed from the day before. The early commute at least has no traffic – you grab some ice on the way & the petrol station guy knows you from the time before, & the time before.
Arrive at markets.
You drive in, unload everything from the vehicle in the almost dark & start the set up process. Gazebo, tables, cloths, stock, signs…getting everything into place & looking pretty…in approx 40mins, you have yourself a fully functional, temporary ‘shop’ with sampling station. Dawn is breaking – phew. It’s coffee time!!
The earliest shoppers are starting to wander in, empty trolleys dragging behind them. You walk back to your stall, sipping your locally roasted coffee, chatting to your fellow stallholders along the way & maybe grabbing breakfast & a few bits n pieces as you go, before the rush hits.
It’s slow for another half hour or so – just a few regulars…these shoppers know what they want & they stock up & get out quickly – you’re lucky if you’re on their list.
The early crowd is upon you, you greet the familiar faces, catch up on their week & exchange goods for cash.
It builds from here until the sun is high above you, your till is overflowing with notes, & your tables & esky are almost empty. That’s on a good day. A bad day might mean – your till looks exactly the same as when you arrived, your tent is soaked, some of your stock is ruined, your shoes, socks & even your undies are soggy…but you’re still having a laugh with your neighbours, you’ve got your weekly fresh groceries (cheaper & fresher than you could buy anywhere else), & you are thankful that you can at least pack your bags at the end of the day & bring your stock back to sell at the next market. Some aren’t so lucky – the fresh produce has to go. You feel sorry for the farmers & buy heaps. Smoothies, pesto, guacamole, freeze things, cook things…give some away…can’t miss the rainy day specials!
Pack up time!
Organise the fresh purchases, pack them away carefully into your half empty stock boxes, cold things into the esky & start dismantling the temporary shop, loading the vehicle with everything, much less neatly than it was before – in your rush to get home. You get home, & the day is not done yet – the stock goes away, counted & ready for next market, the groceries into the fridge, the till counted & recorded. You did ok…a days work done, made a profit, got your shopping done, stocked the fridge…& it’s still only lunchtime.
…finally, relax – time to have a rest!
Or clean the house, take the kids to footy, do the mowing, catch up with a mate, lie in the sun, go for a swim…the day is only half done! You feel kinda like a zombie…but you can catch up on sleep later!
Does this sound like you? The market gig is definitely not for everyone, you need to be just a teensy bit crazy – & pretty tough to do it long term. We have some patchies who’ve been doing it for more than 3 years now, rain hail or shine – but we also have some ‘gaps in the market’…so get in contact if you think you might like to fill one for a little while…or maybe even a long while!