It is time again to go to the Sat. morning market, but before I do, I owe you the “rest of the story”….
The end of the market can be a good time to go…or an unfortunate mistake. As you can imagine, for many of the vendors they have had an exhausting morning that started way earlier than is reasonable and have spent the last 6 hours smiling as best they can. I stood patiently watching the young man finish with the customer before me and then stop to take what I assumed was a well earned sip of coffee. He was staring off into the distance and after what I judged to be a reasonable break I made some noise so that he would look my way. He smiled, said hello and cheerfully asked me what I wanted.
I wanted avocados. If you eat avocados, then you know that they can be difficult. Too early and they aren’t good. Too late…and it’s really not good. Finding just that right moment involves feeling it and trying to judge what is happening on the other side of that funny green skin. At the end of the market, it is highly likely that all of the good ones were already traveling home in someone else’s basket. He knew it and I knew it too.
But he had a solution that created a WIN-WIN, managed my expectations and was a strategy to create a return customer.
He picked out 3 avocados for me. I watched him take his time to feel them and select what I assumed were the 3 best. I was concerned that I had not communicated correctly and held up 1 finger to show him that I only wanted 1. He again smiled, nodded and came back with 3. He told me that he wasn’t sure that they were perfect and that I should take the 3 and pay for 1. He then asked me to come back the next week and to please tell him what I had discovered (were they ok or not). Brilliant! He had lowered my expectations so that when I discovered a little brown at the one end I simply cut it away and thought nothing of it. In fact, I felt like I had received a value as the other 2 were also mostly good! He made me feel like he cared about me and that he stood behind the quality of his product when he asked me to report back and tell him my experience. I felt like I had gotten avocados with a return policy!
These avocados were probably not going to be good long enough to sell to anyone else anyway. Instead of having to pack them up and dispose of them at home, he used them to create an opportunity for 2-way communication with me. He used them to start a relationship.
Will I visit him again this morning? You bet! Not in spite of having purchased slightly spoiled avocados…but because of it.