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The market

Today, technology provides us with spectacular hypermarkets where there is everything except dialogue and human contact.
Nostalgic & Passionate
19 September, 2018

On entering, a series of different and characteristic smells were experienced, with a predominance of birds and fish. Those were times when there were no ice refrigerators, and very fresh or freshly prepared food was consumed, which could not be kept for a long time, there were no freezers. A hen was chosen from the corresponding cage and was instantly slaughtered and plucked, in a brass bucket, containing hot water, or in an exclusive swimming pool for that purpose. The floor of the market was covered with sawdust of wood in all its extension and when walking, one could perceive the sensation of sliding.

The “Orquesta del Mercado”, a trio composed of bandoneon, violin and drums, played waltzes, tangos, milongas, pasodobles and rancheras for customers every morning. Children and adults stopped, not only out of curiosity, but to request the performance or repetition of the fashionable musical theme.

The meat and fish exposed on the cold frozen marbles were classics of the market. The quality of the goods, their appearance and freshness were verified. Around the lamps or hanging from them, a paper fly catcher was placed; it was a twisted and sticky tape, an optimistic attempt to reduce the abundant population of insects that swarmed there, especially in the meat and fish stalls.

At the fruit stall, pears, peaches, apples and bananas were bought by the dozen. The weekend was catastrophic for unsold merchandise. On Saturday morning, offers were common. The very ripe fruits were offered in quantities of 30, 40 or more units, at very low prices, which were quickly used by housewives to prepare compotes.

Prices were somewhat lower than in warehouses and butcher’s shops. The payment was in cash only and the discussion about prices was a constant, renewed with each item. The fight for the penny was very hard. The relationship with the clientele was warm and cordial. It was attended once a week, almost establishing a friendship with the vendors and neighbors. It was a human and dialogued relationship, of exchange. Today, technology provides us with spectacular hypermarkets where there is everything except dialogue and human contact.

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