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"I want the family farm - the backbone of our country's heritage - to thrive and survive for future generations."

Articles/Press Releases

Customers Say the "Funniest" Things
Smile...You Are On the Farm Camera

By Jane Eckert

How many of you remember the old television show Candid Camera? The hosts Peter Funt and Dina Eastwood would film the average person on the street saying or doing dumb things. It was a regular show we watched in our house.  Little did we know at the time that it would become the most watched “reality show” in television history, and later available online for computer viewing. People today are posting their own versions on You Tube for the world to see and share, and we all laugh at them.

If you are too young to know about Candid Camera, then you have probably seen the night time talk show hosts go on the street and ask a question of the passersby.  One of my favorites was when they were asking people, “who was Ronald Reagan,” and a response from a young person was “didn’t he use to play in western movies a long time ago.”

We all know it’s not hard to catch people in everyday humor and insanity on our farms.  I was amused this fall to watch the Facebook posts on the NAFDMA member page, and read about some of the comments our customers were saying.  Therefore, I decided to ask the question on my fall survey, “What was the most outlandish thing said to you by a customer this year?”

Here are some of the responses that you all shared with me:

“A twenty something customer wanted me to explain why we have to charge money for our fruits and vegetables because Mother Nature did all the work and she had to pick it.”

“Why don’t you pave your pathways inside the corn maze so it’s not so muddy?”

“After a particularly rainy day, one customer wanted to know if we had been able to put a tarp over our 60-acre pumpkin patch. Somehow, they were confusing this farm with major league baseball.”

One Hawaiian farmer sent me these. “I thought coffee grew in cans? I thought pineapple grew on trees?”

After paying $5.00 for the Garden Tour, and $5.00 for a class using herbs and sampling omelets made with them, plus a glass of bubbly, one guest said “for that price you should have provided muffins and a salad.”

“One girl asked for her money back because there was a spider in the corn maze.”

On farm received a phone call from a customer saying, “I know you don’t allow dogs on the farm, and I wouldn’t even ask to bring one, but is it okay if I bring my baby lamb?”

“Do I need to take the mums out of the plastic pot to plant them in the ground?”

“Why do you charge admission? Once everything is set up it doesn’t cost you anything to run.”

“How much REAL maple syrup do you put in your ‘pure maple syrup’?”

“I understand that your school tours are self guided.  I don’t know how to drive a tractor – do you teach us?”

“I have been on your website and see the hours that you are open – but when are you closed?

“A customer called to ask when was our last pumpkin cannon show, and we told them 5:00 pm because that was the latest time to have full daylight.  Then she asked me, could you make it stay lighter longer because we can’t get to your farm until 6:30 pm?”

Folks, we are in the people pleasing business and have to maintain a sense of humor even when the questions may sound stupid and the requests unfair. It is clear that many of our city friends have no knowledge of agriculture and what we do to bring a crop to harvest.  And some, apparently, just have no common sense.

It’s much easier at this time of year to laugh about these remarks and share them with our peers at the winter meetings. While it may not be polite to laugh in a customer’s face when these types of things are said, just share them with your family at night and jot them down.  Who knows, you may have enough of them to write a book one day!

Jane Eckert is the founder of Eckert AgriMarketing (www.eckertagrimarketing.com), a full-service marketing and public relations firm that helps farmers to sell directly to consumers, diversify operations and become tourist destinations. She is also CEO of www.RuralBounty.com, a search directory for agritourism farms and ranches in North America. Jane can be reached at 314-862-6288 or you may email her directly.