I don’t find shopping to be an enjoyable pastime. It’s usually a stressful and time-consuming experience. I can’t always find what I want, help can be hard to find, and I often leave the store feeling more like a profit margin than a valued customer. I am more likely to come back to a store if they can provide a fun, stress-free experience. Nowhere have I found a more positive experience shopping than at my local farmer’s market.
In fact, the only place I will now buy meat is from one particular vendor at the market. Not only does the meat taste better than anything I have bought at the supermarket, but the experience and relationship I have with the family who owns the farm have changed how I think about purchasing what I eat.
Every time I stop by the stall, they greet me by name, with a smile, and ask how my week has been. We chat for a few minutes about the happenings on the farm and my latest cooking experiments while they fill my order. They take a genuine interest in my cooking hobby and will recommend new recipes for me to try. I leave with a smile on my face and a head full of ideas about what to try to make next.
If they don’t have exactly what I want or have run out of it, they’ll make sure to put it aside for me the next week. I’ve never had a similar experience at a supermarket or big box store. Normally, if the store is out of something, I can’t ask when the next shipment is coming in or have a product reserved for me. I just have to make do without it. Being able to have my order set aside alleviates some of the stress that can come with meal planning and makes me feel that I matter as a customer.
The relationship that I have with this farm isn’t limited to my weekly Farmer’s Market trip either. I also follow them on social media and am on their email list. This way I can keep up with what’s available at the market and any changes that might be happening on the farm. It feels a lot more personal than getting generic ads and coupons from a big box store. I would feel awkward trying to strike up a conversation with the person at check out about the amazing savings I was getting on yogurt that week, whereas I feel comfortable asking the farmer about the new fence’s construction on the farm and am happy if it is going well.
There are a ton of pictures of the animals freely roaming around the farm. I believe in treating animals, even the ones I eat, with dignity and humanely. I like knowing that the animals lived healthy and happy lives instead of in constant stress and fear. Strativity President Lior Arussy describes this as a Purposeful Experience. As he puts it, “A purposeful experience will create not only a delighted customer but a proud customer. Their commitment to the organization will transcend surprise and ‘wow’ moments. It will create a deeper sense of belonging, as customers will incorporate the brand into the fabric of their lives. It will be the difference between ‘the brands I use’ and ‘the brands I am.’”
Though I could get meat and dairy products for a lower price elsewhere, I don’t think I would feel as connected to my food. Knowing where my food is coming from and seeing that the animals are treated well allows me to appreciate my food even more. Having built a relationship with the farmer makes me excited to see them every week and keeps me coming back to buy more of their products instead of going to someone I don’t know. It has turned an activity that I would normally despise into an experience that makes me feel good.
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