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how to shop without shops

Santa Catalina, for all practical purposes has no shops. At frequent, but entirely random, intervals a small fleet of fruit and vegetable trucks arrives in town.

The trucks always turn up on the same days as each other which, given the lack of any pattern in their arrival, seems to imply some sort of co-ordination between them but competition is fierce despite what appear to be fairly fixed prices.

A key element in this system is the megaphone on the roof of the truck which the driver uses to alert potential shoppers of the truck's approach with a monotone recital of the his wares.

The produce doesn't vary much in price (high) or quality (low) between the different vendors so the charm factor is the only possible thing which might exert influence on a potential customer. Jorge won me over fairly quickly and I can hold out for some days, ignoring the red and black truck, in favor of his white truck.

The arrival of the truck is something of a social occasion where you get to gossip with all the neighbours.

Santa Catalina is a fishing village but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always simple to buy fish. You can hang out on the beach waiting for a boat to come in with a catch. This is the approach that probably guarantees the cheapest and freshest fish but it is even more unpredictable that waiting for the vegetable truck. The next best thing is to go to the people in the village who function as distribution points and see what they have.

You wouldn't think that there would ever be a shortage of fish in a fishing village but it's not always easy to buy a fish in Santa Catalina.

These are some of the more reliable fish guys.

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