The local market in Lakua (Vitoria-Gasteiz) opened 11 years ago with 90 stalls; now it doesn’t even have 40.
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The local market opened 11 years ago with 90 stalls; now it doesn’t even have 40.
Before you read the article, find this vocabulary in the text:
stall: a place where you can sell things at a market
stallholder/vendor/salesman: synonyms for people who sell things
merchandise/goods/wares: synonyms for things that are sold
to outline: To give a summary of a situation; to highlight.
dressing gown: an item of clothing worn at bedtime over your pyjamas
to eye up s.t.: to closely inspect something in which you are interested
to pick up (in context) : to increase
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“When a stall closes, another one doesn’t open in its place”. This is how José González describes the situation at the market in Lakua, in the north of Vitoria-Gasteiz. It opened 11 years ago with 90 stalls. Now, there are barely 40 vendors who congregate in the local car-park every Wednesday. “It’s not because of the bad weather that few people come; it’s the same in the summer.”
Tome has been the manager of a clothes stall for the last 8 years. If it rains or snows or even if it’s 40 degrees in the shade, he arrives on time at his site every week. Among his merchandise, you can find the latest fashion in coats, jumpers, t-shirts and trousers, but he cannot “compete with Primark. Their enormous surface areas are doing us a lot of damage.”
Sales in the villages are going better than in the capital. “I suppose it’s because there are less shops than in Vitoria”. José and Tome agree that there are fewer and fewer stalls. “Years ago, vendors came here from other towns to sell their wares. Now, everyone’s from Vitoria”, they tell us. “And what’s more, the new stallholders only last a few months. They give it a try and then they don’t come back. The thing is, people no longer come and buy here.”
Borja Jiménez has been brought up on this type of work since he was a child. His parents also worked on the market, but “they were different times. Back then, you could sell loads.” He describes the life of a travelling salesman as “very hard. You have to sacrifice everything. You have to get up very early and you get very tired.” Just like his colleagues, he doesn’t blame the weather. “We’ll be here, even if a cyclone hits.” The three of them confirm that their clients are generally older and very loyal. You rarely see younger people at the market. “When one of our clients passes away, we only find out because they stop coming.”
Among these loyal customers are Mari Nieves Herrera and Julia Espinosa, who come nearly every Wednesday to Lakua. “We take a little walk from ‘Coronación’. We buy fruit and we wander amongst the clothes stalls” Julia says. Mari Nieves has come with a clear idea this Wednesday. “I’ve come to buy some trousers. The other day, I saw Julia with some, and I want the same ones. They only cost ten euros!
These friends outline the friendliness of the vendors and the quality of the clothes, as well as the price. “Because everyone knows us and the way they treat us is very personal, they know what we like. And if they have new goods, they’ll show us immediately.” they say.
Patricia López is one of the youngest customers you can find in the market. She has come looking for something specific. “My mum bought a dressing gown and I want one myself because it was super-warm. I’m looking for one the same or similar” she tells us. The youngster states that in Vitoria it’s not customary to go to the market. “It’s the first time I’ve been, but it won’t be the last. I’ve been eyeing up a pair of boots for a while, they’re on sale for only 20€. In Benidorm, we go to the market every year, without fail. I don’t understand why it’s not usual here. Next Wednesday, I’m coming back”. She finds the dressing gown: “This is the one. It’s this one!”
Borja, Tome, José and the dozens of other salesmen will come back next Wednesday to put up their stalls in the car-park in Lakua hoping that sales pick up and the tradition of buying at the market comes back. “Trousers, parkas, coats. Everything’s really cheap. And when you buy something, we give you the bag for free!”. Their humour remains intact.
Translated by ECP coach Kez from gasteizhoy.com
Let’s chat about that!
Write your opinions in an email and send them to your ECP coach!
- Do you ever shop at this (or any other) local market? Why (not)?
- Do you ever shop at Primark (or other chain stores)? Why (not)?
- Do you like shopping? If so, why? If not, why not?
- How long do you think the local market in Lakua will survive?
- Do you ever shop online? If so, what do you buy?