Laughing all the way to the bank. Not.

Sometimes, even when you try really hard and think you have shown lots of initiative, things don’t work out. Not much you can do after the fact, except identify problems, learn from your mistakes and focus on any positive aspect, however incidental and/or non-income generating it may be.

What I’m building up to here is the story of yesterday, when the Jam Tarts tarts packed up all their goodies and went to the Baxter Food and Goods Market to sell their wares. I thought it opened reasonably early so I was there at 8.30 – but that turned out to be a whole two hours early. It’s Cape Town, remember – chill, man! Luckily I had packed myself a little picnic, so I sat on a bench in the sun and ate my cheese sandwich and drank my coffee. A picnic for one. That was probably why the church people were looking strangely at me. (His People hold services in the Baxter auditoriums on Sundays, it gets quite hectic in there). Maybe some of them thought to pray for me to find a friend.

The rest of the day was a blur of non-performance. We set up and, by 3.30, had set down – with not one sale. People stopped, chatted, commented, complimented, but not one of them showed us any money. We think it may have been due in part to a lack of advertising (it’s still a very new market, lots of people have never heard of it), and to a student–earning person ratio of about 97 to 1.

On the bright side: we made new friends:
Matthew, on our right, with his leek soup and chocolate brownies

Christine and Jane with amazing cheeses. We bought camembert and chili brie. And stinky blue.

Keshia with Indian jewellery (maybe it’s just as well I didn’t sell anything, I would have splurged on a turquoise ring that fitted absolutely perfectly):

and Penny from Tristam And-them Magnes with her amazing rizla portraits and plastic ankle warmers:

We ran out of table space so Karen had the brilliant idea of pinning all our flower brooches to the cloth:

Please also take note of the extraordinary Indian rubber tree under which Penny is sitting. It is the biggest and oldest one in the sub-continent, and houses more elves and pixies than all the other rubber trees in Cape Town put together.
And how’s this for a non sequitur: when I was a student at Wits University in 1979, I lived in the same block of flats in Braamfontein as Bruce Fordyce. He swapped me his Debbie Harry album for my Arlo Guthrie. He kept a snake in a glass cage and fed it a live mouse once a week, but the really funny bit is that he also had a rubber plant – called Durex. That still makes me laugh.

To be continued…


10 thoughts on “Laughing all the way to the bank. Not.

  1. lyndellmaree

    sounds a little like my day at the markets last year – though I did sell something – to my mother in law haha

  2. vardi

    fiona and i stumbled across this market last year – had never heard about it! so i dont think many people know about it – YET!!!! – then it was on a saturday – so a sunday is also new! – i also truly believe that when you are new at a market people look and get the feel – and then come back ‘looking’ for you next time! we thought a very special market!see you there next time!

  3. Nice piece of work Post author

    Vardi, you might be right. And I agree that it is a great market to have in our area and that it takes a while for people to grow into it, but it could be many Sundays and many disappointments (and a bit of financial loss) before things come right for us. I think our efforts and time are better spent elsewhere for the moment, but at the same time I am reluctant to stop supporting something that is only just getting up and running. I will wait for a sign :-)

  4. tgonzales


    I’m sorry that the new market wasn’t a success for you (this time). I loved seeing all the beautiful flowers pinned to the cloth. Thanks for sharing all the fun booths with us. I love seeing the different things that people are inspired to create. I especially love the Indian jewelry, I’m so fond of turqouise.

    I just know your next market will be great. Don’t give up.



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