A Portuguese street market



It's all in the art of the display. That introductory lesson I learned from my dad, a competent and successful retailer. High-end stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, or sidewalk sales in small-town Americana, follow the exact same principle.

When I walked out of a restaurant in Vila Real, Portugal, and directly across the brick road, there was a vendor that made me look twice at his assorted wares arrangement. My dad's wisdom came into play. It was a colorful and neat presentation with the plaid blanket as the finishing touch. The battered truck was clean, and the rusted hubcaps washed of traveling on muddy roads, telling me that the owner had pride in his work. He was ready for business.

Up and down the street, other vendors had similar hats, baskets, and hides for reasonable prices, in my opinion. I didn't cross over to examine items closer for fear that I would be required to put my bargaining skills into practice. (I'm excellent at that if you want to know).

Funny thing, though. If I had walked over to take a second look, one or more hospitable folks would have come out from under the coolness of the awning to tackle the sale. It wasn't a tourist town by any means, and the products were for the consumption of the local Thursday morning farmers market.

Not in need of another straw hat that I couldn't stuff in my suitcase anyhow, I strolled on to the bus stop where poultry, vegetables, and fruits keep my eyes roving from place to place.

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