I’ve long perceived The Market as the best place for fresh food.
By choosing it over grocers and supermarkets, this perception has been my reality.
Unfortunately, things aren’t always as they seem, i.e. walk2 ≠ talk2.
For years I’ve shopped at one of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest fresh food markets.
One stall has consistently garnered my custom.
Given there are so many stalls, how could this be?
This stall has perfect displays of pristine products.
Around them hover attendants wearing latex gloves.
When you arrive, an attendant waits on you.
By this, I mean they discourage you from touching your selections.
Rather, you indicate your choices, which they reverently cradle from display to scale to bag.
Though mildly annoying, the summary effect is that the produce seems precious and the people seem proud.
I therefore don’t mind paying top dollar.
My business coach does a similar thing with his business cards.
Instead of yanking grubby units from a sweaty wallet, he withdraws them from a special holder that keeps them crisp and clean.
He then presents them with the care and respect of a Japanese tea ceremony.
Recipients feel they’re getting not a mere piece of printed cardboard, but a passport to a world of first-class business advice.
In Winston’s case, reality matches perception.
Last week at the market, however, a house of cards collapsed.
I went to my favourite stall with my sharp-eyed wife. Three things shattered my perception:
- We asked for ten snow peas. The attendant added an extra five (inferior) units when we weren’t looking.
- Before handling our next purchase, the attendant wiped her gloved finger across her unloved nose.
- When we got home, we found withered changelings in place of the plump, shiny capsicums we’d chosen. On dissection, the green one showed a grub’s ingress and circumscription.
We’re of course very lucky to have any capsicums at all. The point is that when perception no longer matches reality, it dies.
I now see the attendants as dirty cheats who use the premise of service to foist bodgy food.
This is sad for me. It’s also very unkind to the entire market, which I now view with jaded eye.
I can handle average service, so long as it’s honest. But when firms pretend one thing and do another, they strike at trust – the heart of commerce.
Do you concur?
Or am I a limp, thin-skinned, vego whiner?