Sunday, January 19, 2014
There are still a great deal of people who do not believe in stocking up on vegetables, but would rather buy them from day to day, or at least every other day. The vegetables are fresh and there is a belief that these have been spared any preservatives that the chains would soak their stocks in. That may be debatable. Each of these pavement vegetable vendors has to exhaust their stock at the end of the day, so the chance of vegetables rotting because the freezer was turned off at night (the store manager says he is under pressure to reduce power consumption in the store!) are nil.
This was once the default mode of buying vegetables anywhere in Madras. Today, most localities have one of the chain stores catering to the residents. Markets like these have been in retreat for a while, with just a few bastions clinging on. In fact, a more organized vegetable market at Thaneer Thurai, not very far from this one, has given way to a commercial complex. These vendors survive because they don't have any infrastructure - they can set up a stall by the roadside and start their chorus of extolling the vegetables' virtures.
You could argue that such fragmented sellers will not give you the choice that comes from walking through the aisles of a large store. But hey, forget about an aisle, you have a whole street here to choose from!