Conversely, I spent over an hour looking for someone selling Table Salt. When I finally found one, the price was so ridiculous I had to spend another 20 minutes searching for a better price, only to find nothing.
Based on the way SE described it originally, I was envisioning an actual market. A real bazaar, if you will, where everyone is standing behind stalls actively peddling wares to players, an interactive shopping experience based on real-world markets. I figured this would completely replace NPC shops, allowing actual players to line the streets behind stalls and sell stuff to players running by. That sounded great in theory, but what we got is a bunch of instanced hallways that you have to go out of your way to visit, with tons of lifeless statues standing around, the only way to really know what they're carrying being to check each and every one, which is a horrifically slow process. There is no organization whatsoever, nothing to make the process easier. They probably wanted the decor of each stall to be an indicator of what types of products were being sold there, but it just doesn't work, especially since there are so few stalls to go around. Sure, players themselves could stand around in the wards selling stuff, but the purpose is defeated since it's in an isolated area, and no one would be able to tell if you were really selling anything or just browsing.
If we actually got what was described, I felt it would be a fun and immersive experience which could replace an AH. In a way, people are already accomplishing this by crafting in the streets and peddling wares (I've seen quite a few people using /say to advertise their bazaars), which makes the market wards kind of pointless. If retainers could be placed anywhere in the city with rentable stalls also lining the streets (Shin Megami Tensei Online uses this exact system, and it not only works great, it's a lot of fun too), eliminating the market wards entirely, I think it would be a much better system that would achieve what I think Tanaka and co. set out to accomplish in the first place.
However, the way the market ward system works right now is extremely inefficient, and it really offers no level of fun or immersion at all. It's safe to say this has been a failed experiment.