In general changeling parlance, the word “goblin” is usually used to refer to the slightly twisted, yet not entirely malevolent, side of fae magic. Goblin fruits may have odd side effects. Goblin Contracts always have an ugly little twist. And Goblin Markets have a distinctly shady side to them. From there, it’s a short jump to referring to the various proprietors, barkers, entrepreneurs, bawds and shills of a Goblin Market as “goblins.” Many changelings make that jump. It’s not a very respectable term, but working at a Goblin Market is not a very respectable profession.
Another reason that the phrase “goblins” has caught on as a descriptor for these barterers is that they aren’t of a common kind. Most are hobgoblins, among them most frequently the sentient “hobs” that take humanoid form and humanlike mannerisms. Some are changelings, mad or not, who have chosen a life of black-market trade over an honest berth in a freehold. Some are rumored to be True Fae, perhaps banished from Arcadia and much diminished, only vaguely aware of their former glories. There are even stories of self-aware fetches joining the Market, mortal witches with more magic than fae blood peddling their wares or even self-aware dreams and nightmares manning the booths. Complicating matters is the fact that all of these various personages are difficult to tell apart. One cannot remain with the Goblin Market for long and retain full individuality. The Goblin Market exacts its price from all, even (and especially) those who run its stalls.
Portraying a goblin vendor, even one that could never have claimed to be human, can be surprisingly easy. They tend to carry the confidence of a creature on its home turf, but blend it with the obsequiousness of a salesman. Goblin vendors hold all of the cards save the most important: the ability to force a potential customer to take the plunge and buy. A vendor may play at apathy and rudeness, but it wouldn’t be behind the counter if it didn’t want to make a sale. Some come off as ingratiating, like carnival hucksters in search of an easy mark. Others take pains to appear polite and professional. Many wear each of these faces and more, tailoring their behavior to individual customers.