Market etiquette: 11 simple rules that every market-goer should know

Most people love markets, and for good reason. They have an incredible array of fresh produce, food and beverages on offer, plus the opportunity to speak directly to the producers and learn more about what you’re buying. But there are downsides too, something non-market-goers will quickly point out. If everyone follows these 11 simple rules, though, markets can be an enjoyable experience for all.

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Some of the beauty that awaits you today.

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  1. Always be polite and friendly to the vendors. There’s really no elaboration needed here, but there is a possible extra perk: If you’re super friendly, some of the vendors may just remember you and even be swayed to give you something a little extra. (Pro tip: Remember to always unpack the car. You don’t want to find that extra piece of fish you got gifted three days later with a very specific smell…)
  2. Go extra early to avoid the masses. If you hate crowds, this will help you be mindful and respectful of others and also generally put you in a better mood, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the experience to its fullest.

  1. A market is the perfect setting to run into friends you haven’t seen in ages, but it’s important to be considerate of others. Avoid embracing longingly or engaging in lengthy conversations in the middle of a (probably crowded) walkway.
  1. Keep a close eye on your children and pets. While they’re very welcome at most markets, the average market-goer doesn’t want to buy a half-eaten apple that fell victim to a hungry toddler or dog.

  1. Cycling shorts are offensive to innocent passer-byes if you aren’t actually riding a bike. (Absolutely no further explanation needed!)
  2. If you find something that isn’t yours, hand it in. Someone is likely desperately missing it. (I’ve lost a credit card at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market and Sharon, the organiser, hand-delivered it to my doorstep later that same day.)
  3. Take your recyclable shopping bags along – it’s essential, as your arms can only carry so much and there’s a lot of fantastic shopping to be done. Even better: bribe a few friends, children or friend’s children to carry them so you can shop till you drop without everything you’ve already bought dragging you down. (A delicious market breakfast makes for the perfect bribe.)

  1. Don’t manhandle the fresh produce – it’s organic, hand-picked and deserves to be treated with respect.
  2. Download the Snapscan app and make sure it’s set up and working before you arrive at the market. Otherwise, cash is king. Nobody wants to wait behind that one guy who fiddles around with his app when breakfast and brownies are calling.
  3. Bring a recyclable coffee cup along. It might mean a discount and your favourite vendor remembering your order.
  1. Don’t judge those doing wine tastings. While several tots of wine at 9am may be out of the ordinary, at a market it’s completely valid. Besides, why not join them?

Leave the gloom, doom and bad mood at home – markets are meant to be fun and interactive for everyone. If we all stick to these 11 simple rules, we may even be able to convert those non-market-goers!

Did we forget anything? What are the most important rules at a market, and which market is your favourite? Let us know in the comments section below!

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