Fischmarkt in Hamburg

Sunday morning at the Fischmarkt

The value propositions of the vendors, early morning the crowds is either still delusional from the night of partying carrying over or early risers to here to witness the spectacle. I was the later, as a devoted tourist. The experience was one of bombastic volumes and force impulses to BUY. As every Chinese tourist agenda traveling abroad the mantra is to BUY BUY BUY, even if you’re not one it’s hard to resist the constant yelling of a cheap rate for large quantities of tantalizing fillets.

Unlike a normal farmer’s market on a peaceful weekend where you have the peace of mind to browse and be picky of the produce on your grocery list. The locals seem to enjoy another form of purchasing where the vendors are simply yelling at the crowd phases and keywords like “super cheap, really good, all for 5 euros, 10 euros” and as one turn to look at the stand it is already organize in piles/baskets ready to pick up. There’s no need for sorting or sampling to see if this is what you want. You don’t decide on which one, it’s yes / no options. Takes the pain away from picking THE ONE, and since there are so much more to buy, one can quickly move on to the next yeller.

Then there are the Arena areas where vendors set up their own stage. Their trucks/trailers expand into a stage elevated at the eye level of the crowds. The seller becomes the host of slapstick, where a live performance is so well executed you cannot not buy. The Fisch stage is facing the Produce stage, their voices echo each other. As the fishmonger slaps on fillets on top of fillets choosing from one variety to another, he paces back and forth end to end of the stage the audience’s gaze is fixed on to the sheet of parcel with mounting fishes, he yells out the name of the fish with repetition of another one and another until it seems overbearing to wrap anymore... then he slaps the parcel with integrity. How can he slap? like the brothel culture of this sea bay, waking the already hypnotize crowd and points at what he see as the already induced one to come forward for this present he so quickly wrapped in a whiff. All for just 20 euros. How can you resist? All the trailing questions, then he starts with another sheet of paper and again, picking out each fish for another gift-wrapping procedure.

Looking across at the produce stand there are there showmen. The main male voice winged by his two female assistant. They begin with an empty basket in front of them with mountains of vegetable & fruits boxes piled next to them. Putting the hearty ones in first and layer with more and more bundles, calling out the names of each one and emphasizing on the MORE, ANOTHER. While filling the basket, their eyes are scanning the crowd for the next victim(winner) and their hands are busy with unpacking the produce from a larger encasing. Their mouth never stops to howl the ringing seduction, buzz frequencies trailing in the air against the Fischmonger slapping. A true theater piece.

A little further down we see the Cheese stage, not so grand but still repeating the same recipe of filling a small basket and auctioning for just 10 euros. Never has one purchase that many wheels in the instance of minutes. This model of hustling is wilding the crowd on a cold windy Easter Sunday.

So it get more obscure as the market extends to the Pasta stage. I ask myself who would buy a shopping bagging full of carbs and schlep it back to their place, not any sensible tourist, and not the single family residence either. You need either be a part of a large organizational kitchen or a wildly starving university student here to stock up on 3 months worth of pasta.

But it was all so cheap and so much. How can one not buy? How can one not regret for not buying ?