Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Notes from the Syrup Monger

It's pancake season. Which means that my days at the Greenmarket are busier than ever. The weekend before Thanksgiving, which is this coming weekend, is one of the busiest of the year, and already people are walking up to the table and buying six or eight quarts at a time. "Do you have a box?" they ask. I always do.

It's actually the last maple syrup at the market before Thanksgiving -- Kip said we should put up a sign, like gas stations in the West. "No Syrup for 7 days" kind of thing. I'm thinking about it.

I have seen people pick up the half-pint bottles back in the summer, and actually decide not to buy it because of the humidity in August. They want the syrup, but the idea of a hot griddle in the morning makes them queasy. And people don't understand that syrup is not just for breakfast. It's for coffee, tea, yogurt, ice cream, roasted meats, roasted fish, cedar plank salmon, salad dressing, stir-fry, lemonade, etc. I do this spiel a lot.

People will tell you everything you need to know about them in about five seconds. Some people are chatty, some are grumpy, and some just don't want to talk. I'm pretty good at figuring out who's who really fast. The most ridiculous are the people who don't want to be happy. They hem and haw about the price, they want to taste the syrup--sometimes we have a bottle open, sometimes we don't, and if you give one taste, and other people see you, then you'll spend the next 10 minutes doing that. These people who don't want to be happy--they need a lot of attention. "How do I know if I'll like it?" they ask. "Is it really sweet?" If you are asking these questions, maybe you don't want syrup. Some people are so risk-adverse. And it's not like I'm asking them to BASE Jump off of the Chrysler Building.

I think if the Market has a Christmas party--it won't because we're all so freakin' wrecked after standing in the cold all day dealing with idiots--we should play charades and all the answers are certain customers. Since the regulars tend to make scheduled appearances at everyone's stand on whichever day. The Bent Lady. The Guy Who's Mom is in the Hospital. The Old Punk Lady. Law & Order Family.

I do love my regular customers, though. The nice ones. I know only bits and pieces about them. They'll toss something into the conversation every so often: "My son actually likes this candy," or "I used to live on the West side," things like that.

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