This year’s auction marked the 150th anniversary of the current home of what is called the largest wholesale meat market in the United Kingdom.
“We’re working 17 hours a day [before Christmas] but don’t get me wrong, we’re taking your money,” said the lead auctioneer over the PA system as he opened the sale. “Who wants a turkey?”
Although the yearly event is called an auction, each cut was sold at a single price of 15 to 20 British pounds for what amounted to 15 to 20 pounds of flesh. With many more shoppers than supplies, some in the crowd pondered the possibility of a meat stampede if the sellers, from Harts of Smithfield, pulled out the Chateaubriand.
“It’s brilliant,” said technology recruiter Rowan Sallows, 37, of south London, who had just bagged an 18-pound turkey for the equivalent of about $25. “It’s good fun.”