'Sounds like snobbery to me'

PUBLISHED: 02:01 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 22:00 15 June 2010

What an amazing outburst in your feature recently regarding the Honiton Street market. Car boot sales, junk sellers, tatty stalls and secondhand goods versus higher quality" stallholders. Sounds a bit like snobbery to me. I have only been operating in H

What an amazing outburst in your feature recently regarding the Honiton Street market. Car boot sales, junk sellers, tatty stalls and secondhand goods versus "higher quality" stallholders. Sounds a bit like snobbery to me. I have only been operating in Honiton for the last 10 years, so cannot speak for the preceding 740 years, when some of the stalls may, indeed, have been tatty. But to suggest that our market is shoddy is to miss totally the point of a vibrant market. Suggestions were made that more control should be exercised over the appearance and presentation of our various pitches. Note the use of the word various. We are not all selling the same products. Indeed, some would look ridiculous displayed on a table-type stall, and they sit much better on the ground. The key word is various, or in another form, variety, and isn't that supposed to be the "spice of life?" And who would be responsible for deciding between "tidy" and "tatty?" Surely, the same standards could be applied to the shops, too, presumably judged by the same official? Scope here for some little man in the EU to come up with 300 page rulebook on the subject. I'm sure sufficient "display police" could be found to enforce them. I would not expect all shops to adopt an identical format. Indeed, I would avoid a shopping centre where uniformity was the order of the day. I could go further and suggest that there are some shops in Honiton which might well be thought shoddy for much the same reasons as put forward by your previous correspondents. I checked through the length of our market last week, and could not see any compelling evidence of car boot sales. There were some shops, however, whose goods and displays might well fit that description, and why not? If tatty stalls are to be turned away, will this also apply to shop premises? What is critical to the shopping experience is that there should be sufficient diversity to attract a large mass of people into the town, irrespective of what they initially come in to buy. Once in the town centre, they may well browse and patronise other vendors. I know there has been growing concern over the high proportion of charity shops in the town, and whilst this is an understandable problem for some traders, the comments above about attracting extra shoppers to the area are equally valid. At least these shops carry a wide range of modestly priced items, and thus can be said to attract a greater number of people into town than do the specialist shops with their higher prices. Honiton is renowned for its antiques trade, and they are a colourful addition to our commerce, but do they attract much general business to the town? On a more positive note, I was approached by a number of people during the course of last Saturday's market, all of whom were at pains to reassure me that they were all in favour of the market staying exactly as it is. In conclusion, I should say that this problem is not peculiar to Honiton. I have a stall in Bridport market too, and a minority of shopkeepers there have similar views about the presence of the market. And a greater proportion of the market traders there display their wares in unconventional fashion, to the delight of the public. Much of the character of a market lies in its diversity of presentation. Cedric HarrisBakery LaneMorcombelakeNr Bridport

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