Station Life column: Generosity a sweet surprise in old-fashioned customer service

RAELENE HALLMidwest Times
Picture: Raelene Hall’s bounty of fresh produce goodness.
Camera IconPicture: Raelene Hall’s bounty of fresh produce goodness.

“Try, try, try one”, were the words that greeted us as we entered the small shed doubling as a shop at the strawberry farm.

The smell of strawberries hit my nostrils and when I “tried” as requested, my taste buds went into overdrive.

I haven’t tasted strawberries like that since last growing our own at home. Sweet and juicy, the minute I bit into them there was just an absolute explosion of sweetness in my mouth. I didn’t need any encouragement to try another and another.

I’d had plans to visit a strawberry farm that enabled you to pick your own fruit but I’d left my run a bit late, hence the visit to this shop right alongside the rows and rows of strawberry plants with plump, red fruit visible everywhere.

We bought a kilo of strawberries ($10 per kg) for ourselves and one for friends on that first visit.

As well as strawberries you could purchase vegetables, honey, preserves and more, all at amazing prices.

Within a couple of days that punnet was gone so hubby, when passing the store, collected a couple more — one for us and one for our neighbours.

Hubby was beginning to wonder if my digestive system could continue to handle strawberries at this rate.

Last night, on the way to visit friends, we decided to collect some more strawberries for them, our neighbours and ourselves.

Again we were greeted by “try try” and happily did so. The lady, whose English was quite broken, continued to urge us. This time we bought 4kg of strawberries and a rockmelon, a total cost of $45.

Hubby handed the lady a $50 note and I told her to keep the change. With much shaking of her head and many “nos” she then proceeded to fill the tasting container with fresh strawberries and handed it to us, before grabbing a container of cherry tomatoes and mini cucumbers which she also insisted we take.

Therefore we not only didn’t manage to gift her $5 but ended up with well and truly more than our $50 worth.

I fully understand it isn’t possible to treat customers like this in big corporate businesses but, in a small business, what a wonderful way to encourage return customers who, as we have done, spread the word about their amazing produce and the goodwill of businesses who work long hard hours to succeed.

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