In the central market in Santiago yesterday we were wandering through the various stalls and while Sarah was taking pictures something struck me very strongly, some of the stalls seemed to be more buzzing than the others. In this mass of undifferentiated products – tens of fishmongers, tens of fruit and vegetablists – you would expect there to be a fine example of 'perfect competition' and no significant differences between the vendors, but it wasn't true.
Every stall had a guy behind the counter filleting the orders and a guy out the front trying to hook people to buy the congrio or calamares from them rather than the similar looking chap next door. It has occurred to me since that what we do, though we tie it up in tortuous words and phrases is essentially the same as these two people down at the market. Hello my friend? Where are you from? You are very beautiful (they said this to my wife, not me). Would you like to take a picture? A lot of people spend a lot of time wondering about if their ads are working hard enough, or have a good call to action, but it seems that in the fish market at least the most important thing is how charming the guy who does the hooking in is and how handy with the knife the other one is.