My roommate and I have the same problem. After more than a year of living in the same area, we find that we are loyal to shop owners. That doesn’t sound so bad, but we both wonder about the practicality of it. We go back to the same shops again and again, even if another place has better merchandise or better prices. This is especially true if new shops are in sight of our normal shop.
For example, my preferred produce vendor is on my way home from school. One day, when I was feeling sick to my stomach, I stopped and asked if he had bananas.
“No, they will come in later today. Maybe an hour or hour and a half.”
“Okay.” And I continued on my way, walking right past a vendor cart of bananas…sold by someone else.
My struggle became evident over l-Eid Kbir when many of my normal vendors disappeared for the holiday. I found new people to be faithful to…until my usuals returned. So now I have two produce vendors. One is in a busier section of the neighborhood which I usually avoid, but when I do stop there, I take a route home that avoids my usual vendor.
My roommate likes to give business to an elderly man in the old medina who usually has about four things for sale. Sometimes she takes inventory of his stock, decides she needs nothing, and then buys something anyway.
Is this practical? Probably not. At least not at first glance. Then again, by sticking with the chosen few, we are able to build solid professional relationships and perhaps protect ourselves from those less honest.