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The Same – But SO Different

I take a lot of photos when I’m on vacation. I never used to take any, but I have a nifty little Canon PowerShot that makes taking good pictures pretty easy. I can adapt the shutter speed, play with the focus, and zoom in and out. Best of all, I can take what seems like a zillion photos because it’s digital. I’m limited by the size of the memory card, not the amount of film.

I’ve also learned that the more photos I take the more and better choices of pictures I have when I get home. I try not to get so busy taking pictures that I don’t experience the actual place I’m in. But I know that when I get home, the photos are what will serve as a visual trigger to remind me of the experience.

This month we were fortunate enough to travel to Spain. In both Madrid and Barcelona, I found myself unwilling to leave the markets, taking scores of photos of food on display. Fruits, vegetables,  fruit drinks, sausage, bakery goods, gelato options,  peppers, nuts, candies, dried fruits, fish, beef, dairy products poultry, — and more! There were fruits I had never seen or heard of, beef items I was transfixed by (Bull testicles, anyone?!), each stall more gorgeous than the last. (The photo above is all ‘Swedish fish’ type of candies, sugared, jellied, ropes, pods, flowers, etc,).

Among the stalls were opportunities to purchase food to eat there or on the go, drinks, sandwiches, jellies, jams, vacuum packed  meats to bring home as a reminder of the trip or a gift for someone who was being thought of, and wines, beers, and mixed drinks.

All of it so colorful, appealing and downright pretty – I wondered why we didn’t do this in our markets here in the US.  Not that we should be or need to be like other places around the world; not every market welcomes a large throng of international and local patrons on a daily basis. And there are the cultural norms that allow each country to have their own unique identity.

It made me wonder about what we do and how we do it.

Do we focus on attracting customers by making what we sell – whether it’s product, service, (or candy) as attractive as it can be? Does it make people stop and wonder at the creativity or the distinctiveness of what they view? Does it capture their attention?

You might be thinking — it was the newness. Perhaps it was because I was on vacation. Maybe if I lived there and saw it all the time, I’d be used to it and it wouldn’t capture or hold my attention.

I suppose a market is a market and candy is candy. But I’m pretty sure that if the market near me presented their candy like the shop keeper from the photo in this blog post – I’d have a tough time resisting.

I’d be getting candy much more often.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011 at 6:54 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.