We’ve been going to Farmers Market for a few years now, and have met some seriously interesting people along the way. We’ve also had some encounters with people that are completely (!!!) out to lunch, we’ve had people that really should get a swift quick in the ass. These people are a special breed, you can spot them a mile away and they all seem to be cut from the same cloth- I say this because they offend in similar fashions. After many conversations with other vendors at markets, I don’t think I would consider myself an expert analyst, but I can give you insight on vendor pet peeves and maybe even endear yourself to your favorite vendors at your local market.
Baby strollers. I am not here to start a war on the baby population of market customers, I will point out that there are a few problems with bringing the strollers to market. I’ll start with the obvious- when it’s busy at market, they clog the walkways. How about when dad is waiting for mom and the toddler and he has the stroller; where will he wait? Usually in front of a stall, which hurts our sales. If people can’t see you or need to work for it, they keep walking. We would suggest baby slings, wraps, backpacks or whatever else they have come up with- anything that isn’t huge! The side by side strollers for 2 youngsters are pure evil. Evil.
Family reunions. This is actually pretty similar to the baby strollers. Markets are meeting places, that’s half the reason we go! Congregating in the middle of the walkway or in front of a stall is completely inconsiderate to everyone else at the market. Some come to socialize, others shop with a purpose- and they like to get a move on. Respect that. We also like to sell stuff, please respect that. Take your reunion over to the tables, in front of an empty stall, outside, somewhere out of the way. We don’t come and sit on your desk at your work, don’t do it at ours.
That’s too expensive. Instant rage. You are completely entitled to your opinion, but we don’t need to hear it. What vendors bring to market is a very emotional thing and for a lot of us, it’s our living- sometimes this hurts a little (or alot). Many market shoppers don’t have any idea how much work or cost goes into a sausage, a loaf of bread, or a pair of mittens. I know why people feel the need to express their thoughts regarding the cost- they have a preconceived notion that they think it should be a certain amount, and the actual price is drastically higher. Usually, we can tell by the look on your face- you don’t need to say anything. Please don’t say anything. Other people hear what you say- other potential customers. If you feel the need to say something, just say thanks and keep walking. Please.
The phone conversation. I don’t even think that I need to explain this. Put the phone away. We don’t want to stand there and wait (with a growing lineup) because you need to check with your husband/ wife/ boyfriend/ girlfriend/ parent how many pints of cherry tomatoes they want. We also have a huge problem with you on the phone during our transaction- we don’t sell you stuff while we are on the phone, don’t we deserve the same treatment? We are close to a mutiny on this, and may not serve you if you are guilty of this infraction.
The old lady know it alls. We’ve had many encounters with old ladies where they think they know everything, and don’t mind voicing that they think what you are doing is wrong. We were the first farm that showed at the Fredericton market with perfect, tender baby vegetables (we were elated to have them- so proud!!), and our first morning having them, an older women made her way over to our stall with an incredulous look on her face and, in a voice I can only describe and obnoxious, showboating old lady voice, gave us a dressing down about how silly we were to pick them too early- didn’t we know anything? I had a similar encounter this weekend at an event for kids, where I made banana bread chips- well, this was absolutely hilarious to a woman, “Is this just banana bread?” and then proceeded to laugh hysterically. Seriously? I understand you are old, and maybe can’t control this rude behavior, but if you don’t have anything nice to say, then take a nice big glass of SHUT THE HELL UP!
How sweet is it, is there a lot of salt? How are we supposed to answer this? Sweet compared to…… You are buying ice cream and you want to know if it’s sweet? Give us something to go on- are you a diabetic? Think about what you are asking, and try to be intelligent about it. If you are a health nut, and you are buying one of our chocolate croissants- tell me you watch what you eat and I can tell you that it is high in fat, carbs and the chocolate has moderate sugar content, then you can make a decision. Salt questions we kind of understand, as it seems to be an epedemic, especially with the older population. But, again, this is almost impossible to answer. I’ve seasoned the food as I think it should be.
Crticism! We are all for criticism, it helps us grow, but it really should be constructive. A while back, I made a specific and traditional dessert for someone, I’d never made it before- when I saw him after he’d eaten it, he told me what he thought. He thought it had good flavor and was pretty close to the orginal, but the layers were too thick and the caramel should be done a little differently. Perfect!!
Rich middle-age/ older ladies. These ladies think that they are too good to be at market, but it’s the cool thing to do, so they are there. They look down their nose at you, the squeeze everything or move half of the display to get the one on the bottom and then decide that they don’t want it. They throw their money at you while they talk to their more important friends. They butt in line. I am totally generalizing, but these people make us feel small and unimportant. Is that how you want people to treat you?
Obnoxious conversation. I don’t even know where to begin with this. Markets are busy, and there are alot of people around…. What would you think if you came over to a vendor at market and a customer was talking to them about their little girl learning about….feminine products. Or that they had relations with their hubby and are really feeling it. This has happened. You are my customer, how am I supposed to tell you that what you are saying is completely inappropriate. I know that some customers have been offended by what others have said- don’t put us in this situation, it’s really not fair- and it is AWKWARD!!! If you are outspoken enough, we are totally okay with you telling the offensive patron that they are being inappropriate.