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Old June 29, 2016   #1
Cole_Robbie
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Default Angry over prices? Don't be this guy

I went to a small town farmer's market today. It is a smaller crowd, with a lot of senior citizens. Everyone is looking for a bargain, and most customers buy from whoever has the lowest price. I know this from going there last year, where I lost out on a lot of sales, because I tried to get just marginally higher rates for a premium product. That works when you have customers who come to spend money, like at the other market I go to in a larger town.

Tomatoes were $1.50 a pound at the larger market four days ago. Mine all sold, but not as fast as I would like. They are the first of the year, and it takes at least a week to get repeat customers. I had a lot that I needed to sell today; heirlooms don't have much of a shelf life. So I priced mine at $1.50.

Apparently, everyone else at the market, all selling hybrids, still had theirs at $2/lb. I don't know this for sure, because I don't walk around and scope out everyone else's prices when I get there. I feel rude doing that. At my other market, I can see the tomato price on the sign of a large vendor across from me. I'm always very close to the going market rate.

The reason I suspect I had the lowest prices is that one of the other vendors, an older gentleman, late 60's maybe, accompanied by what I'm guessing is his 8-10 y/o grandson, came over to my table and literally started screaming at me:

You mean to tell me you are going to start tomatoes off at $1.50 a pound?

"Really? You're this mad over fifty cents?"

You're g**d*** right!!! You're gonna kill this g**d*** market!!!

"Price fixing is illegal. Every vendor is free to set their own prices. I've been selling all week at this price."

He was wagging his finger at me and continuing to scream more profanity, when my step-dad, who happens to be huge, walked over and told the guy, "This conversation is over. Get out of here."

Then the guy went back around to all the other vendors, told them again what I'm sure were some fine compliments about me, and then sat at his booth and sulked for the rest of the market, pouting like a little kid while I sold everything I brought. I didn't see anyone else sell a tomato. I'm sure I did kill their tomato market.

I don't know how this man made it this far in life with his schoolyard bully approach to problem-solving. That's not how to get your way with people, and I think it's a horrible example to set for his grandson. The kid being there is the only reason I mention him cursing at me. I'm no saint; I curse like a sailor, but not in front of kids, and not as an example of how adults solve their problems. The child being there is what made me be so calm and professional with the guy. Someone needs to set an example of how adults are supposed to act.

In retrospect, and here is the biggest point of this story, if he had just been reasonable and acted like an adult, I would have been reasonable, too. I'm sure it would technically be illegal price collusion, but I would have offered to make mine $1.75 and let them drop theirs a quarter. I'm ok with having the same prices as everyone else, because I'm selling pesticide-free heirlooms, and they are selling hybrids. I think I have a better product.

So, to learn from my fellow vendor's mistakes today, anger is counter-productive in negotiations. If any other vendor at market makes you mad, not necessarily about prices, but anything in general they do, give yourself the chance to cool off before approaching them, and give them a chance to be reasonable and compromise when you do talk to them. Being mad doesn't get you anywhere. I never was mad at that guy today. I'm still not. If he's there next week, and wants to come talk to me like an adult, I'll listen.

Last edited by Cole_Robbie; June 29, 2016 at 10:36 PM.
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Old June 29, 2016   #2
joe1974
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You make very good points.
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Old June 29, 2016   #3
fonseca
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"If it's so cheap, why don't you buy my inventory and sell it at $2/lb?"

Having worked in customer service for many years, I am thoroughly familiar with that kind of individual. Probably why I am so cynical.

Last edited by fonseca; June 29, 2016 at 10:57 PM.
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Old June 29, 2016   #4
luigiwu
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That is great advice for any part of life!! ��
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Old June 29, 2016   #5
BigVanVader
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I told the other vendor with red baseballs last week he should charge more, that we all should, but in a nice adult way. Half the customers at that market drive a $50k vehicle, I doubt $5 lb heirlooms would make a dent. So far the prices are pretty even there. He gets $3 lb for early girls and mountain pride.
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Old June 29, 2016   #6
Deborah
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Not exactly setting a good example for his grandson. Sounds like a major league idiot.
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Old June 30, 2016   #7
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Cole, you did right.

You saw the bad example the grandfather was teaching his grandson. Children learn no matter what example we give them - good or bad. I hope the grandson learned that the way his grandfather acting like a jerk isn't how to be.

It does happen - some children grow up learning to be a better person by watching their elders doing things the wrong way.

I know this is growing for market - sell them for what you think they are worth. Today, my wife paid $7 for a seedless orange meated watermelon from a guy set up under a shade tree out in the middle of BFE. He was in his 70s, cut a piece of watermelon with his pocket knife for a sample. She was sold, and now there's a $7 hybrid tasteless sweet watermelon sitting in my floor for July 4.
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Old June 30, 2016   #8
Worth1
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I had an old man attack me at the post office I am sure he was just a jerk but who knows what really set him off.
The guy at your market may have had other problems and the tomatoes were the straw that broke the camels back.
The reason his grandson was with him may be because that kids mother or father was in jail for selling meth.
Not an excuse but a reason.
Being the type of person I am I would have changed my prices to $1.45.



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Old June 30, 2016   #9
BlackBear
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I am so sorry I have offended you with my $1.50 price ...

I will change the price and offend you no more ........$1.25
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Old June 30, 2016   #10
PureHarvest
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I am reminded I don't miss the farmers market scene.
Around here it's become the cool thing to start/run/ sell at/buy at a farmers market.
There are so many here now. I think every day of the week is covered.
Good job remaining calm and cool, Cole.
We had a guy join the market I used to do. Priced his chicken 1.50/lb under ours. Long story short, my buddy/biz partner went politely over to him and chatted with him like a neighbor, then brought up pricing. He raised his price to match ours.
He realized he worked too hard to raise and process those birds to not get a good price.

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Old June 30, 2016   #11
twillis2252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigVanVader View Post
I told the other vendor with red baseballs last week he should charge more, that we all should, but in a nice adult way. Half the customers at that market drive a $50k vehicle, I doubt $5 lb heirlooms would make a dent. So far the prices are pretty even there. He gets $3 lb for early girls and mountain pride.

Always remember appearance is everything. They may drive a $50K car but nine out of ten are financed up to 95% and many are not owned but lease. Most of these folks are leveraged to the hilt! Many times the individuals driving the $18K car are the ones with the true liquid assets...
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Old June 30, 2016   #12
Ricky Shaw
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Aggravating that so often, by election or self-appointment, it's the alpha jerk who heads up negotiations for the group.
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Old June 30, 2016   #13
Gerardo
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I love those guys, being the same dimensions as your stepdad, they rarely act out with me as their focus.

A good one to really push them over the edge, in as calm a demeanor as you can muster, casually ask these two questions in quick succession:

--Did you take your medication this morning? Are we gonna have to call them to come get you?

Because most of the time these idiots have had run-ins and court appointed therapy, so they know the drill quite well, and it just irks them that someone IDs them for what they are, mental cases.

Be ready for the next market, he's had a whole week to fixate and blame everything that's gone wrong lately on your $1.50. Louisville slugger.
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Old June 30, 2016   #14
efisakov
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twillis2252 View Post
Always remember appearance is everything. They may drive a $50K car but nine out of ten are financed up to 95% and many are not owned but lease. Most of these folks are leveraged to the hilt! Many times the individuals driving the $18K car are the ones with the true liquid assets...

I second that. I can count money too well to purchase through the banks and make money for them. My DH hates when I count exactly how much we will be paying if we are to take a loan.
We have a friend who owns few houses that he fixed mostly by himself or with help of his family members/he payed them. That guy is a millionaire if he sells the houses. He does not look like it at all. He drives old Pontiac and dresses like a bum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerardo View Post
I love those guys, being the same dimensions as your stepdad, they rarely act out with me as their focus.

A good one to really push them over the edge, in as calm a demeanor as you can muster, casually ask these two questions in quick succession:

--Did you take your medication this morning? Are we gonna have to call them to come get you?

Because most of the time these idiots have had run-ins and court appointed therapy, so they know the drill quite well, and it just irks them that someone IDs them for what they are, mental cases.

Be ready for the next market, he's had a whole week to fixate and blame everything that's gone wrong lately on your $1.50. Louisville slugger.
I strongly believe people like that do not change. They always blame others for their misfortunes, never themselves. They are like that their entire life. They make life of people around them miserable. The poor kid is probably thinking that it is his fault every time grandpa yells.
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Old June 30, 2016   #15
Worth1
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This is the reason I dont go to bars.
It seems every time I do someone wants to fight me and I have no idea why.
I dont say anything and can be sitting not doing a darn thing and someone wants to fight.
The only bars I have been to that haven't been this way were old school biker bars.
Those days are long gone never to be seen again now they are full of doctors and lawyers that cant hold their alcohol dress up like bikers.

I cant see how some of you guys put up with the goings on at farmers markets.

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