What does the “appearance of plenty” do for these noodles? The vendor must assumes it makes them more attractive to customers, but how? Perhaps a smaller pile would indicate those leftover noodles would have had to be sitting there for a longer time and are thus “not fresh”? Does positive airflow enhance tastiness (as a friend pointed out, increased airflow does wonders for encouraging the propagation of bacteria)? What are customers’ reactions if/when they realize these noodles are not as they appear while they are being served? Does the vendor take pains to “preserve the illusion”?
A friend offered that the height of a stall’s pile of noodles varied directly with the quality/desirability of those noodles. We can assume the height of the noodles at the start of the business day reflects the vendor’s calculation about the anticipated demand for those noodles. If, throughout the course of the day the pile shrunk steadily in size (as the vendor’s income rose) then a smaller pile near the end of the business day would reflect the success enjoyed by that stand and (hopefully) the correspondingly high quality of noodles the vendor makes, thus attracting more people to eat there as the day wears on (and the noodle pile shrinks in size).Thus, by propping up the noodles this stand risks falling into another category of “undesirable” due to having too many noodles and possibly not having had their pile diminished enough for “comfort” of their potential customers.
At what point does the owner “pull the strainers” – as in, reveal to all passerby the bona-fide success of their noodle stand in the hopes of convincing others “Look, so many other folks just like you ate here and enjoyed these noodles, so you should too!” What about the thrillseekers among us, who enjoy taking roads less traveled and would perhaps be dissuaded by seeing how many others had enjoyed these same noodles before them?Also, of course, there’s the unasked question that gets around all of these noodle-omical musings: would the benefits of even the most carefully planned of noodle display tactics be outweighed by simply employing a person (perhaps compensating him or her with noodles?) if they stuck around for a bit extra and spoke at great length and volume about how delicious the noodles they were eating at that moment were. Ethical connotations of hiring such a “noodle-plant”? Or is this just good marketing?