One of my favorite ways to experience a culture is through shopping. You learn much about what a culture values when you observe it engaging in commerce. You also learn about the communication differences in how that culture buys and sells. Most mainstream Americans are quite used to going to a brand name store and paying the listed price for the item(s) they desire. Other cultures (and some American co-cultures) handle the shopping experience differently by engaging in bargaining or swapping.
Believe it or not, you do not have to leave the United States to experience a unique shopping experience. While visiting relatives in central Indiana at the end of the summer, I went to Lynch’s Croy Creek Trader Fair. This fair has been in operation every other weekend for an amazing 44 years. The fair sits on at least 40 acres in the middle of the Indiana woods. Thousands of people arrive at dawn to shop from the backs of pickup trucks, blankets and booths. For $3, you can buy or sell. (Children under 10 are admitted for free).
People can find ANYTHING at this fair. Seriously. Continue reading