The Language of the Market

Photo by Nancie Gee

I am a Market Rat. Now before you start thinking this is a bohemian experiment in blog posting, I am not a furry four legged rodent. I am someone who has grown up in the Pike Place Market. My family first started working on the line in 1979. They worked endless hours creating  painted wooden puzzles. My father had a band-saw in our garage and I can still recall the smell of wood being cut even today. Each puzzle was hand painted by my mother. Currently, one wall in my parent’s home is covered with those original puzzles on display.

As new craftspeople, we were low on  the list and often set up on the slabs after morning roll call. They went on to open a store with a door in the Atrium and continue to paint today. They have produced the Pike Place Market Calendar for 30 years.

The Market, literally, has supported each member of my immediate family. I now own a business and a shop in the district myself, Market Ghost Tours. I employ eight people and offer walking tours. It has been incredible to be able to continue being in the Market as an adult.

The Pike Place Market is a city within a city, with its own governing boards, residents, constituents, and businesses. It also has a vocabulary of its own – that you only learn once you start to work in the Market. Here are just some examples;

Market Rat, a child in the Market, or a person who grew up in the Market.

Store with a Door, a term for businesses who lease retail space.

The Line, the craft line, the selling stalls that run through the main Arcade of the Market at the north end of Pike Place.

Day Stall, a stall rented daily to a farmer or craftsperson in the Market.

High Stall vs Low Stall, Farmer stalls: High have imported fruits & veg year round, Low are day tables with seasonal and local offerings.

Roll Call, morning roll call, as Websters would define it, for the crafts community.

The Cave, an area, below the main Arcade, where Market buskers perform.

The Lockers, storage lockers for the crafts community.

The Slabs, concrete selling stalls on the North End of the Arcade.

The Dog Leg, an area of day stalls in the Market.

Market Master, The person in charge of roll call and who oversees the leasing of the day stalls.

Fish Monger, man or woman who works at a fish market.

The Bridge, short for the Joe Desimone Bridge, which is in the North Arcade and at one time was a bridge linking Pike Place with a building on Western. Today it is used as daystall area.

The Clock, the iconic clock at the entrance of the Market and part of the Public Market Center neon sign. People often meet under the clock or by the pig.

The Pig, named Rachel, a brass life sized piggy bank that stands under the clock and by the Pike Place Fish Market. She raises money for human services in the Market.

*Not me in the picture, but that photo certainly reminds me of my childhood in the Market. There are more words and phrases in the Market vocabulary. Come down and spend some time learning the language, our favorite is the language of commerce.

Now, how about some cheese ? ~ Mercedes Yaeger, Market Ghost Tour


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s