Don’t get me wrong: I love my job at the farmer’s market. I love being out there in every kind of weather, I love handling vegetables, I love how I feel serving a purpose.
I don’t love all of our customers, though. Some of the people who buy our produce are lovely, no, the majority of the people is sweet and I’m always happy to see them. Sadly, we also get entitled, impolite, arrogant, impatient, demanding, condescending, the works, as well.
This is a list about those people.
- People who can’t queue properly.
We’ve got signs plastered all over the construction, “please queue at this end of the stall”, completely with a cute arrow made from carrots. I’ve had people stand right in front of one of these, spitting “I didn’t read that anywhere” at me just to storm off when I kindly pointed out that the hint is right there.
We usually take our time to calmly explain that it’s about fairness, that it’s easier for us to see who’s next this way and that they will be served more quickly when they stand in line, actually, because we direct our attention there when looking for our next customer. The worst thing is that we, the staff, basically don’t even care, it’s the other customers who will get upset and start fighting, and it’s really uncomfortable to have to break up those squabbles. We even had an old man threatening another customer to punch him. People. Gotta love them.
To be fair, some people just don’t know about the queue, don’t see the signs and assume that they should just stand wherever the things that they want are on display. Some people just accept what we tell them and then go and stand in line, and I for one always thank them for understanding.
As for the people who insult us, tell us that they don’t care or simply throw the produce they were holding down at the table to storm off… Thank you, next.
- “Is this really organic?”
No. We’ve got bio written all over the place for fun. Of course it is! Germany is strict when it comes to the declarations on organic merchandise, so yeah, it is, in fact, organic. And yes, you can use that citrus peel. No, the apples aren’t waxed, that’s just the variety, it produces a wax-like cover when stored. Also, no, we don’t import our apples. Would you kindly stop insulting me when I tell you that they aren’t from New Zealand? Thanks.
- People complaining about the weather,
especially the cold, telling me that it’s really snug inside the stall and that we’ve got it sooo good compared to them. That might be the case if it’s well into the minuses outside and you just came it, but it gets zero-ish inside the tent, and I’m not only there for a couple of minutes to shop. I’m there all day. And let me tell you, eight hours in a somewhere-around-freezing point environment are harder on you than one hour of shopping in minus five. We only get heating once it hits zero, anyway, and if it rains the dampness will crawl inside everything you’re wearing. It’s not like we arrive to a fully pitched stall, either, we’ve gotta build that thing, no matter the weather. Just trust me on this one, and don’t tell me that it’s cold or wet outside. I know.
Disclaimer: I actually like weather small talk because for us it’s not small talk at all. Just don’t pretend that my workplace is luxurious because the salad isn’t frozen.
- If you’re getting only one cent back think about just leaving it to the clerk who just finished packing your more-than-we-make-in-half-a-day organic grocery shopping. The time you wait for it is probably worth more than that. Just sayin’.
- “But it’s cheaper at [insert conventional, probably import-based place]!”
That might well be, and you’re free to shop there! Nobody forces you to take your business to us. I’m not making the prices. And in fact our farm is already less expensive than some other organic places. There are reasons for the prices, however: Supply and demand. Effort (some plants need more care than others). Fair wages. Certified organic seeds. Scale of workable land. Scale of business. Growing organic food isn’t as easy as conventional. Sorry to break it to you, but the cheapest produce at the discount supermarket is probably neither organic nor locally grown.
We’ve got a surprising range of more-or-less locally grown organic produce at our supermarket, by the way. I don’t buy everything at work because even with my employee’s discount I can’t afford it all the time. I get that sometimes you don’t want to stand in a long line, but it’s still better than standing in the middle of the stall and not getting served at all, isn’t it?
Farmer’s markets, especially ones that limit their vendors to locally grown produce or merchandise, and especially stalls that sell organic produce, have an air of elitism around them (but that might be a topic for another day), and sometimes they seem downright romantic, in a salt-of-the-earth kind of way. I know. I work there. But don’t let out the people who work there. Queue. If you can, round up, or at least don’t wait for one. Stupid. Cent. Be nice to people in retail. They are on their feet all day to make your life easier. Every smile, every heartfelt “thank you”, every bit of honest interest is worth so much to us. Make the world a better place, it’s really not that hard sometimes.
And if this post was too negative for you, don’t worry. I’ve got a list with things I love about my job queued up, so come back next week!