The occupation emerged in its modern form during the Free Territories, as merchants adopted appearances and practices that distinguished them from hawkers. The profession became established as it plugged the gaps caused by anarchist reinvention of markets, and provided additional economic benefits. Following the Liberation War, governments implemented regulations and introduced licenses, helping consolidate the profession.
Merchants may be fixed-pitch or itinerant. They sell a variety of goods, with a particular focus on street food, dry goods, and other consumer goods. They are licensed and adhere to NPB prices and Gylian labour law. Some merchants double as artisans, producing handmade goods for sale.
Reflecting their past differentiation from hawkers, merchants are identifiable by their clothing: they wear business suits as part of their work, particularly Kaede Nakano designs. They are always referred to as "merchants" or "traders"; the terms "hawkers" or "peddlers" are considered insulting.
They account for a significant proportion of self-employment in Gylias, together with artisans and artists.
In popular culture
Merchants are frequently depicted in popular culture, as both a common presence in daily life, and a representation of a spirit of determination and enterprise in Gylian society. They are a notable presence in the orgone film genre.
L'Commerçant is Gylias' largest financial newspaper aimed mainly at merchants.