A couple of weeks ago while visiting family we parked at the foot of the Brown’s Town Market in St. Ann. I stayed in the car while my husband dashed into his home town marketplace to purchase fresh produce. Although I am familiar with the market cart hustle, I had never really observed this sub culture for more than a couple of minutes. I was completely transfixed by the unwritten rules of parking, marketeering and the competitive, occasionally hostile, banter that surrounded the many men and women, their produce, goods and carts. There is definitely a push cart code.
If you have experienced a local Jamaican market you know. The colors, sounds, smells, etc, are likely to catapult you into stimulus overload. I am particularly fascinated with the market carts, indeed, an iconic fixture of Jamaica. These push carts are usually equipped with steering wheels, horns and sometimes a rear view mirror, The drivers/marketeers, boast ear-piercing phrases. “Punkin’, yam, banana, punkin’, yam, banana” they broadcast their goods, over and over again, every day, all week, right through the year. Talk about discipline.
It occurs to me that like anything else, it is consistency, color, customer service and respect for the unwritten codes of selling your products that make or brea a bizness. Whether the push cart driver sells his yam wednesday or not, he will be there tomorrow and the next day and the next, guaranteed. It is the showing up, with a beautifully colored cart (display and advertising), and publicizing your market goods in a clear and friendly voice that builds careers. Those of us establishing unique creative businesses can learn a lot at Jamaican markets. Be fierce yet flexible, colorful enough to stand out from the rest, loud enough to be heard, without stepping on the competition and sell your creations. Do this every day and you can’t lose…
One Love, walk good, standing out from the rest!