Thursday, May 29, 2008

10 Commandments for Market-Goers

I've worked many a farmer's market at this point. Rainy ones, cold ones, blistering ones, perfect ones, slow name it, and I've been there, smiling or at least trying to. This list is a sort of etiquette for market shoppers based upon what I have experienced at market. Believe me, we want your support and we'll put up with a lot, but the customer is not always right. We work hard to bring you fresh, local, sustainable goods at a fair (not necessarily cheap) price, and so I think there are a few rules that the shopper should follow just for courtesy's sake.

1.) Smile. That's it, come can't be that bad. We smile back. You're at a farmer's market for god's sake, not a Harris Teeter. It's okay to smile. We like you, we really do, when you smile at us. It makes being on your feet for hours in all weather more bearable.

2.) We have samples out for a reason. We want you to taste to decide which flavor, which cheese, you like the best, and then we do want you to buy from us on occasion. Tasting every flavor and then walking away without so much as a thank you is not okay. Samples do cost us money.

3.) Restrain your children. It's wonderful that you bring them to market with you. They need that experience. But they should also be taught that samples are just that--samples, not snacks.

4.) Don't get high and come to the market broke but with the munchies. It's obnoxious.

5.) We do want to talk to you. We like it when you ask questions and give us feedback. But it's a little awkward for us when you start talking, unprovoked, about your skin condition.

6.) We know times are hard, and we know that you might be paying more for farmstead goat cheese than Kraft singles, but our prices are higher than big brands for a reason. When you ask us to lower our prices, it's offensive. We have goats to feed, gas to buy, repairs to make, electricity bills to pay, and lots and lots of other small expenses that really add up. Be assured that you are paying a fair price. We're not getting fat off your cash.

7.) Be kind. We've been up since 5 a.m.

8.) Be aware of other shoppers. If we're busy, we're not ignoring you. We can only do so many things at one time.

9.) We like talking about our products--don't hesitate to ask questions, from the specific to the general.

10.) Bring your own bag (0r basket). It'll be easier for the both of us and better for the environment.

There are more, I'm sure, but this is just a start. We need each other, so let's cooperate.

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