Today was my fourth time selling at the local farmer’s market. I continue to make the same amount of money every week no matter how low I make my prices, so I’m thinking that I must be doing something right. Every week I meet more people who are into gardening, canning, or something else related to a country life. It’s so refreshing! Seeing them walk off with bags full of my plants and a smile on their face is priceless. It makes me very happy to be able to provide a bigger, better selection of heirloom plants than other local stores. And because I ask so little for my plants, they are able to buy more plants and a wider variety of them than if they had gone to a store.
Yep. It makes me happy. But it also makes some people really… really… REALLY upset. A man and woman who just started selling plants at this market took it in turns to each come up to me several times today to harass me for outselling them. My plants are superior to theirs and I was undercutting their prices by a large margin. Between that and my bubbly personality, I grated on their nerves enough that they felt it necessary to repeatedly come up and yell at me. Yes. Yell. They yelled whether or not I had customers standing nearby. They yelled in front of other vendors, who sat there looking appalled at first and began standing up for me near the end of the day. They went to the couple in charge of running the market and complained, for all the good it did them – the woman who runs it came over to have a chat with me and we both rolled our eyes, chuckled a bit about sour grapes, then had a good conversation about cows and chickens. They complained to other vendors, and even tried saying that the other vendors were mad at me too. Then the other vendors came up and had good conversations with me and walked away smiling. No one else seemed mad. They were all really nice.
I knew I was going to have a problem with these people before the market even started. You see, this is the same man who came up to me two sales ago upset that I was selling for so low. This man has a very hard time keeping his tongue civil and making new friends. I kind of feel bad for the guy. I’ve been nothing but friendly to him and the woman with him. I tried to engage them each in pleasant conversation. I haven’t once raised my voice or argued with them. Yet they persisted. I shrug them off when other vendors bring them up. I have no dog in the fight that is this man’s life. Why should I let his unhappiness unsettle mine? At one point, I even offered to sell my entire stock to him so that he could turn around and mark it up to his prices. He stalked off and came right back a half hour later with more vitriol. His loss. I have nice plants. People want them. I sold more than half of my table today, with barely time between customers to take a breather.
I don’t know what to do about these people except to continue on as my happy-go-lucky, bubbly self and hope they get over it. I’m not raising my prices. I still have this insane belief that gardening should be available to everyone, regardless of financial circumstances. Hell, if someone told me they really wanted to garden but couldn’t afford plants, I’d GIVE them the plants. Free. I have enough to spare. I have already given away several flats of plants to friends and family because gardening is fun and I like to see other people getting involved in growing their own food. I refuse to feel guilty for the happiness I get from growing, selling, and giving plants to others. It’s a great hobby. It’s rewarding. I’m not going to stop doing something I enjoy so much because it twists some people’s panties. In fact – I’m stubborn enough to use that as a reason to be even more wonderful to other people. I mean, with people like those fuddy duddies in the world, a little extra kindness can really go a long way. Right?
I want to make an anonymous shout-out to the other vendors who were just as appalled as I was by this man and woman today. Thank you to the ones who stood up for me against them.Your actions meant a lot to me. You’ll probably never be rid of me after this, because y’all are pretty great. I might even make a business out of this in the future, since apparently I have a green thumb AND good enough financial sense to bring my product to the market at a quarter the price of other vendors and still be able to make a profit. As a matter of fact, we had our excavator friend out today to give us a quote for digging out a walipini greenhouse in our southern hill. My husband is busy finalizing the drawings for it. In the morning we’re going out to pace it out and drive some stakes. Next spring I might have a lot more plants to sell, and I’ll have low prices again because we won’t be paying as much for electricity! I’m excited to have so much space. I think my husband is excited about getting all these plants out of the house. Hehe.
Cheers to new friends, and to the sour grapes that make new friends all the sweeter!