Did you ever notice that when you head down to your local market you find a bunch of really happy people? Markets vendors seem to feed on the joy of being in their community and offering you the food they have grown or made, or the art they have lovingly crafted. Week after week, rain or shine, the vendors at the market greet you with a smile and a warm “Good Morning!” Farmers Market Finds has come up with some tips for how you can return the favor and keep your local vendors happy.
1. Bring your own bag – while most vendors have bags, this is an extra cost that we can help keep down. Bringing your own bag is good for the environment and good for the vendors. While most vendors will provide a bag when asked, they will certainly appreciate the fact that you have your own.
2. Don’t haggle – most vendors at your local market are not getting rich by selling their products. While we all know that there is a profit built into any price, haggling with a vendor will generally have one of two effects: 1) will make the vendor feel that you don’t appreciate the worth of their product or 2) plant a seed of doubt about using the market as a method to sell their product. If you see a product that you want but really can’t afford right that minute ask the vendor if it is a regular item, whether you can purchase it on their website, or can the item be recreated at a later date.
3. Be mindful of your dog – Before heading out to a market, check the market’s website to see its dog policy. It is hit or miss on whether a market welcomes, forbids, or discourages pets. If a market does welcome dogs, please make sure to keep a close eye on your pet. Be aware that not everyone is a dog lover, so be respectful of others personal space. Also, be careful in the vendor’s space. Don’t let your dog nibble on anything that is not offered, be mindful that wagging tails can knock things down, and make sure to clean up if your dog has any type of “accident”. Should you become part of any type of doggie incident please apologize (a simple “I’m sorry” can go a long way). If your dog eats or breaks something, please offer to pay it; remember whatever is lost comes directly out of the vendor’s pocket. Finally, be very careful around food vendors. Your dog is probably totally adorable, but no one wants its fur in their food.
4. Respect the vendor’s time – Vendors usually love to talk about their products but remember that you are one of hundreds of people they will talk to today. It’s wonderful to ask questions and most vendors are happy to talk, just please be mindful of the number of people waiting to buy things or needing to ask a question. This is extremely important if they are working the booth alone. Be friendly, be inquisitive, but be conscious of the time you are taking with the vendor.
5. A sample is just a sample – sampling is a great part of going to a farmers market. It’s nice to try a different cheese or sample a dip on crackers but don’t over sample….it’s not lunch! If you find yourself going back to a vendor for more than a second taste of anything, admit that you like what you’ve tried and buy it! Or, if you can’t buy it that day, write down the item for next time. Vendors love to provide samples; it lets the consumer try the product and gives the vendor valuable feedback, but please be courteous and remember while the samples are free to you, they aren’t free for the vendor.
6. Be nice – Seems simple, right? Be nice to everyone – the vendors, patrons, and volunteers. A simple please, thank you or excuse me raises the level of civility at the market. Don’t yell, try not to curse, and if there is a problem, whether it is running into your ex or an issue with a vendor, avoid making a scene. People go to the market to enjoy the community and the atmosphere of coming together in a unique, shared shopping experience; be part of the positive vibe. It will last throughout the day!
See you soon at the market!