If Play is, as I believe, a state of mind – applying serious attention to a task that others might see as trivial or purposeless – it follows that you can turn anything into play. Including things that might otherwise be construed as boring, unpleasant, or work. So when I had the opportunity to have a stall at a craft market, I thought that this could be play.

I called the game ‘Sell, sell, sell’!

I don’t consider myself to be a natural salesman, so this pushed me outside my comfort zone. My play approach was to treat it as a bit of fun, and to experiment with real curiosity at the result. I tried standing there and letting people come to my stall. I tried the aggressive approach of trying to drag passers-by closer to the stall.

I found that what worked well was to gently cast a hand over the painted scarves that I was selling (alongside origami crane Christmas tree decorations) and remark that they’re 100% pure silk. If that caught their interest I would add that they were all hand-painted, and each unique. That seemed to work well to get people interested (and much better than either the passive or aggressive approaches!).

Finally, once hooked in, I continued with the playful approach, by suggesting they feel the different fabrics – smooth and crêped, thinner and heavier. Once they had them around their necks it was about fifty-fifty whether they’d purchase or not. It turns out feeling – and dressing up – are just the sort of play people want ahead of a purchase!

My mother was right: When you’ve got nothing left, all you can do is get into silk underwear and start reading Proust. – Jane Birkin

Ease of play: 3/10 (for me!)

Resemblance to play: 4/10 

Aggression: Medium-to-High

 Speed: Medium-to-Fast (or at least that’s what it felt)

Enjoyability: Low-to-Medium (just being honest!)

Potential frequency of play: Low


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