My apologies to anyone who has tried to visit me at the main market on a sunday these last two weeks.
Both sundays have been subject to the Severe Weather Warning Syndrome- I shall explain...
Unlike the saturday market at All Saints, traders have to pay a week in advance unless they notify the manager in advance that they are going to take a week off. A good system, I think as it makes traders think twice about not turning up and forfeiting the stall fee.
However, when a severe weather warning is in place, the rules change. In an act of kindness, the council will let traders go back home without paying the stall fee if the weather is really bad and trade affected. The thing is, if you decide to brave the horizontal snow or storm force rain, you will have to pay your stall fee and hope to make a little money.
This is what has happened on the last two sundays. The thing is, it really does affect the reputation of the market if the stalls are empty. What I think should happen (and I have suggested it several times) is that the traders have another choice.
How about- if you stay, you don't have to pay your stall fee. Let's face it, if a trader goes home, the council don't get any money, so what have they got to lose? What they gain is a market that might look a little fuller, as many traders might decide to risk staying if they know it's not going to cost them £20-odd before they start.
In terrible weather, there's a very good chance that they will make minus £20-odd on top of petrol and lunch expenses. Can you blame them for going home?
The thing is, the poor food traders don't have a choice. Their stock won't keep. They have an even worse chance of making any money when most of the stalls are empty. When I turned up yesterday, there wouldn't have been anyone on either my row or the one opposite!
That is the main reason why I decided not to stay. Rain is rain. People have brollies! The weather wasn't really that bad, anyway. However, passing trade would have been zero and nobody to look after my stall if I wanted to get a cup of tea.
So my advice is- if you want to visit me on a sunday in bad weather, don't make a special journey! And, of course, always check my homepage for dates that I will be away from the market too.
I shall continue to try and get the council to change their policy in the meantime...