Vitamin Man

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An unfortunate fact of life in Fenspace is the regrettably limited and sometimes bland diet available to most of its inhabitants. Although the variety, quality and quantity of food produced in Fenspace have all been improving over the years, and imports from the Danelaw have likewise increased, it is still very easy for a careless Fan to suffer the effects of malnutrition. The problem is even more critical for fenkinder, who are especially sensitive to dietary deficiencies.

It didn't take long after the first diaspora of Fen into space for someone to recognize this need and act to fill it. In early 2008, Antonio Mendoza of Austin, TX 'waved a 2002 Ford E-350 van, filled it with all manner of vitamins and dietary supplements purchased wholesale from a local supplier, and took off for Fenspace. He was the first Vitamin Man, and became a familiar face to the first wave of Fen colonists as he traveled from settlement to settlement (and sometimes vehicle to vehicle) selling his wares both retail and wholesale to those who needed them.

As awareness of Mendoza grew in Fenspace, so did demand, and soon several more Vitamin Men were running their own routes. Most were like Mendoza, being honest businessmen, but several became infamous for price-gouging, and allegedly one was spaced when his stock was discovered to be worthless sugar pills. Despite this, by 2012 the Vitamin Man and his truck have become a regular and welcome sight to Fen throughout the solar system.

Unlike some of his less-scrupulous competitors, Mendoza charged little more than his wares would cost Earthside. Initially he accepted American currency, but as it grew in short supply and Fenspace's native economy evolved, he became willing to take almost anything in trade, refusing anything he felt was disproportionately valuable. (Any such trade goods he sells in a thrift/bargain/pawn shop he maintains on the Island.) When his customers had nothing to offer was he was willing to let them have his wares on credit; he claims proudly that almost none of the credit customers ever defaulted on him.

For his first few restock runs he returned to his native Austin, but after the United States grew hostile to Fen he was forced to seek out suppliers elsewhere. After trying several outlets in Europe, Mendoza eventually became part of the wave of Fen activity which established Australia as Fenspace's "home port" in the Danelaw. While his vitamin route has not made him rich, he is comfortable and content, and as of early 2012 finalized a deal with an Australian pharmaceutical company to license "Vitamin Man" brand vitamins and dietary supplements for sale both on Earth and in Fenspace.