One thing I've enjoyed about this job is for the first time I'm doing so much more than merely beekeeping, especially marketing-wise from designing logos and getting the labels made to making the sales pitches in person at shops. The latter I never thought I'd enjoy --being a salesman-- but honey basically sells itself and people are usually super friendly. I've actually come to enjoy driving around the countryside, pulling over when I pass a general store I didn't even know was there, walking in with a jar of honey and making a sale. It's fun to explore the countryside, and often the people in these little country shops are a pleasure to talk to.
An atypical encounter though: last week I realized there was a general store at a crossroads not terribly far from here. It seemed kind of unlikely because it's not THAT far from the bigger town of Colac and there's doesn't seem to be enough habitations out there to support a dedicated general store, but I decided to swing by on my way in that direction. Sure enough there's a general store. I go in and eerily all the shelves are about 60% empty. When the proprietor asked me if she could help me I said
"It appears you have no honey!"
"Oh.. umm.. we have this" she indicates a brand x bottle of "golden syrup," which apparently is the lighter fraction of liquid byproduct of sugarcane processing (as opposed to the heavier molasses). Australians seems to like it but to me its just sugar syrup.
"Oh actually I'm here to sell you honey!" I say putting the sample jar on the counter.
"If you want honey probably you could get some in Colac I guess" she is continuing
"No, I mean I sell honey, I am here to sell you honey. This is a sample of it here."
It seems to take her weirdly long to comprehend this. Finally she says "ohhh I would like to but.. you know, there's so many loopholes to jump through with health and food safety" (keep in mind my jar does NOT, imho, look like some fly-by-night garage product)
"Oh I'm all certified by the shire health inspectors and all that." I say
"Do you have the paperwork with you?" she asks
"Um.. no?" I'm getting a bit confused, literally no one has ever asked for this before. At this point I'm already backing towards the door when she comes up with a completely different excuse:
"I don't think any of my customers would buy honey anyway. You might have better luck with, I don't know, I think there's a fancy deli in Colac" she's saying as if I'm trying to sling the most hipstery thing her good no-nonsense clientele would never deign to purchase.
I find country folks are _more_ likely to buy local direct-from-a-beekeeper honey than city-slickers. My theory is this woman has inhereted the store from a more competent relative and literally does not know how to make arrangements with new distributors and/or run a business.
In totally unrelated news Cristina finally can get away from work for a week so we're meeting in Cancun the first week of September. If anyone happens to have any inside tips on hotels they particularly recommend or other Cancun secrets please let me know!