Out on a Whim: Carmens

My mother had been planning a trip to something called the Reading Terminal Market for weeks. Because of her busy schedule at work, we were never able to go until this past weekend. At first I thought it was in Reading, Pa where the outlets are. I haven’t been to the Vanity Fair outlets in over ten years so I have no clue if its even still there. Still, that’s where I thought it was. Surprise to me when I plugged it into Google Maps, it came up as Philly.

I figured it would be like the Amish and Dutch markets where I live: walk around, see all the desserts and fresh produce and be on my way out. We arrived in great time, about two hours without traffic but it actually took us about twenty minutes to get through the convention center tunnel and to the market because of an event. Walking in, I was immediately overwhelmed. Wall to wall people, shoulder to shoulder. My fiancé and I were walking just to walk because there were so many people. Shops that we wanted to eat at or buy from we couldn’t because either the line was wrapped around or we couldn’t stop-people were on us to the point where I was becoming highly uncomfortable. Before we got to Carmens, I was ready to leave and I hadn’t even been there ten minutes.

My fiancé says he heard about Carmens and I decided to stand in the line with him figuring why not? We drove all this way and might as well make it useful. We stood in line for about an hour. By the time we reached the cashier, I was just about to faint. I am not sure if it was because of low sugar or because of the heat at that particular section, but I had to hold on for dear life.

I was expecting to be rushed, maybe a rolling of the eyes or sigh from the cashier or any indication of impatience from the staff seeing how they had already served hundreds before we got there. I was more than blown away at the bedside manner and professionalism. Even when I had trouble understanding that they do not offer green peppers and instead either hot or sweet pepper, the cashier was more than patient with me in helping me to understand so I can order accordingly. There were no signs that they were fed up as could be expected having to work that hard.


These guys worked and were so pleasant and helpful. If I ever do come again, it will be during the weekday, in the early morning, not a weekend.



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