January 25th, 2005
|03:01 pm - I'm glad I had a witness so that I didn't think the voices were coming from my head.|
Fancy Food Show week started early for me. A well-known American cheesemaker stopped by the store Friday morning to drop off some new samples. She’s from the East Coast and hadn’t been to our store before though I have talked to her at many cheese events.
I’m so glad she did because she got to witness an amazing customer/cheese worker interaction.
We were chatting in the little cheese cutting area when a customer came up. Observing the proper rules of store visits, the cheesemaker and her handler (a local rep) stepped back and stopped talking so I could help the customer.
An older woman with an accent, German Swiss I think, held up a piece of Prima Donna.* Because of the price of the cheese, we cut it through the middle so that we can sell pieces between $3-$6 dollars.
"You have ruined this cheese." She declares.
"Uh, what do you mean?" I ask.
"When you cut it in half, you ruin the flavor."
""Uh, what do you mean?" I ask.
"All the flavor is in the middle. When you cut it down the center, all the flavor runs out. I know, I come from a cheesemaking family."
"OK," I say, not knowing what else to say to this. Eventually we agree that we will cut her a 2 lb. piece with an undefiled middle the next time we cut that cheese. She goes away mollified. Well Known Cheesemaker says nothing, but I can see in her eyes that she jut gained more respect for retailers.
Of course, because this always happens to customers like this, anarqueso totally forgot about the special order when she cut Prima Donna on Monday. And we couldn’t get another wheel until this coming Friday. Luckily, the woman of cheesemaker stock called back and declared that Prima Donna wasn’t actually the cheese she wanted at all and would call back when she figured out what it was she wanted.
I can’t wait.
*Prima Donna (blue) is a copy of Parrano. Basically a Dutch aged gouda with added Italian starter cultures that make it taste more aged than it is. This explains the Parrano ad campaigns that have brought us such winner slogans as, "The Dutch cheese that thinks it’s Italian", "Move over Parmesan!" and "Sort of Italian".