Out on the fringes of the Gather sat a tent, a fairly large one, but plain. Just your typical Gather stall, at first glance. At second glance, however, this wasn’t a typical Gather stall, though. For one thing, people couldn’t actually enter it; three sides of it had walls up, while the fourth was blocked by a row of tables, preventing entrance except at the ends, which were both roped off.
But the most unusual thing about this tent was that the people running it sold no goods, and the people who came to it would actually leave with fewer items than they had (well, at least until later in the day). And the people manning the booth were all dressed in the dreadful ‘Candie yellow’ of Candidate uniforms. There were signs up - “Tired of carrying your packages? Let us hold on to them for you!”, “Why carry a heavy item all day? Leave it here and get it when you’re ready to leave!” and the like - and occasional calls of “Keep your goods here!” “Don’t risk dropping or losing your new items!” and similar, trying to entice people into actually leaving their newly purchased items with a gaggle of strangers.
Anybody who showed interest was given a quick rundown of what was going on: For a small fee, people could leave their purchases somewhere safe and retrieve them at the end of the day or whenever they were ready to go back to wherever they were staying. Shalia was gambling on enough people being willing to pay for the convenience of not having to carry stuff around all day to be worthwhile. And while many traders offered to hold purchased goods, that just meant you had to go around to every place you purchased something and hoped you remembered which ones they were, while this offered that benefit in a single place.
Additionally, she had recruited enough fellow Candidates to be able to have some rovers, able to be flagged down to bring items back to the tent, providing another service - people wouldn’t even have to make the trek themselves! She had also been going around to other stalls asking if they’d be willing to participate - that way they’d just have to hold on to purchased goods until a rover came by and gathered them up, or even just suggest to their customers to look for Candidates to flag down. Some were enthusiastic about the idea, others scoffed, while still others looked skeptical but said they’d think about it, or at least let customers know.
Shalia didn’t have a clue if this would be a success, but if it failed it wasn’t going to be because of a lack of effort on her part!
LrdSlvrhnd on the Wizzy thingie, and also on Discord