There are worlds and worlds: the pre-economic crisis and the post-crisis. I am not sure Romanians are in the post-crisis, practically we’re in the midst. What I find disturbing about the social consequences of the economic recession is that people forgot how it’s like to share a laugh and actually say “Hello!” like they mean it.
Take a simple situation as going to the market and buying groceries. God forbid you start asking questions about the products, quality and share silly jokes! You are going to be, shall we say, neglected or better yet: ignored. The best of the best was when I realized one seller was deep in her iPhone conversation and not at all bothered where the tomatoes were anymore.
Markets are places where people should engage economically and socially. However, this is no longer completely true on all sides. There are two types of markets: urban and rural. The discrepancies between both of them are huge.
Rural markets are not your everyday stroll in the park. You usually have one big market place on Mondays (some have it on Fridays) and 4 to 6 villages come over and sell their produce. It’s already a social event awaited and carefully prepared. As a potential client, you are expected to do the following:
- Say “Hello! How are you?” and actually mean it.
- Ask about the origin of the products: place, family, farm, land.
- Compare the product with the existing offer on the market.
- Bargain for real. Unless you do that, you are not a serious buyer.
- Shake hands and share a farewell drink with the owner/vendor in case you bought something big as in corn, cattle, wood and so forth.
Irrespective of your product, the potential client is expected to be highly communicative and be willing to have fun. Obviously, clients don’t expect that each and every person checking their products will actually buy anything, but they expect you to be funny, entertaining and open to dialogue.
These qualities are practically inexistent in urban daily open markets. Sure, you can do your joking around with your go-to vendors that are actually interested in seeing you on a daily basis, but forget it with regular vendors. Engaging with your partner or vendor does not buy or sell anymore.