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Common Sense & Water Melons
Beijing Watermelon Seller

Beijing Watermelon Seller

I took this photo a couple of years ago in Beijing. Not just anywhere in Beijing but within one kilometre of the entrance to the Forbidden City and Tianamen Square – and just after I had come out of a supermarket! There had been no water melons on display in the store I had just come from. I commented on that as I had seen people wandering down the street eating slices of water melons.  I was told that the fruit was awkward to stock, as it could not be easily sold from the sloping produce display units and the store was not set up for selling individual melon slices from a food safety perspective. I had to contain myself for two reasons, when I heard that explanation.  Firstly, the day before I had been to the Forbidden City where I had noticed melon sellers slicing the fruit on the pavement before skewering the pieces and selling them to bystanders. Undoubtedly a demand for freshly cut melon and bugger the food safety implications of using the pavement as a working surface.  Secondly, because that was just another example of modern supply chain practices getting into the way of common sense.  Shoppers want water melons. Shoppers used to buy water melons at the markets.  Then supermarkets come along and don’t sell water melon because it no longer fits into their system.  No wonder the peasants come to town and take matters into their own hands!

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