How Did Medieval Shops Showed What’s For Sale?

I mean, most people in the middle ages couldn’t read so how would the know what is for sale in the markets or shops? Would it be drawn or would the items be showed on display? I really don’t know.
Please help me, I’ve done a lot of research and couldn’t find anything about that.

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4 Responses to “How Did Medieval Shops Showed What’s For Sale?”

  1. IA says:

    Most shop-keepers also made what they sold, you could often see them at work. All the tradesmen of a particular craft would have their shops in the same stretch of the street. Often even today streets are named after a particular craft or trade from those times. You can see this in some countries like Turkey now. Towns were very much smaller than they are today, many of them were no larger than today’s High Street, which is probably the original one from those times in Britain, so people knew what the shops sold without having to be directed. Ale houses had to display a sign, often a broom tied to the roof eaves, to announce themselves. This was partly because many were private homes which just sold ale on the side.
    Some of the things they sold would be on display on the shop counter. The counter was often a wooden shutter which folded down to form a trestle table. Other items might be hung outside. A lot of prices were fixed. The bakers, for example, had an agreed price for a standard 2lb loaf of barley bread, and a higher one for white bread or other products. The Guilds would fine anyone who did not keep to the agreed prices. Not everything was on display, potential customers would be invited into the shop to see the whole range. Much more was made to order as tradesmen could not afford to hold large stocks.This is still common in parts of Asia.

  2. Sir Caustic says:

    The shopkeepers employed out-of-work actors to stand outside the shops and mime the products that were on sale. For instance tailors would advertise their wares by instructing the actors to pretend they were putting on a jacket.

  3. Chrispy says:

    Most shops sold one thing and one thing only, and many of them had a counter that could be pulled up at night and secured. On this they would display a sample of their goods.
    Pictures were often hung above the shop door that showed what the merchant’s main item was; for instance, a butcher might show cows, sheep, and cattle painted on his shingle, a baker might might have an array of breads and pastries on his, and a fishmongerr would, of course, have at least one fish on the sign over his shop.
    Of course, in smaller communities where practically everyone knew everybody else, this kind of thing wasn’t quite as necessary. If you wanted ro buy a barrel of ale or beer (the main drinks, along with wine, in the MIddle Ages), you’d probably know where Joan the alewife kept her shop or where Walter the brewster sold his beer.
    In a society where literacy was fairly uncommon, pictures and knowing the various tradespeople in your area was the way commerce was carried out.

  4. GIO C says:

    They had very few items to display and was hardly worth a display. Everyone knew each others wares

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