Ned’s latest Borough bit


We sold 16 cheeses this week end. It’s funny, if I hadn’t sold 19 the other week, I’d be jumping up and down about that, but as it is my inner miserable old git is muttering ‘why didn’t we sell more, bah humbug! That’s daft really because 16 cheeses is perfectly respectable. So I am happy really.
Imo and I had massively busy Friday. We could barely keep the counter stocked with cut pieces for most of the day.

Working at the market is very different to working in a cheese shop. People haven’t come there expressly to buy cheese, there is more competition, and a lot of people haven’t even really come there to shop – a sign of this is how many people turn up at the market without a bag, a dead giveaway. So we have to work a bit harder to get people to realise that they want a NICE BIG PIECE.

I don’t feel like we’re forcing anything on people, more like helping them to enjoy something beautiful.

Saturday morning was really quiet because the Lord Mayor’s show was on which drained a lot of our custom away, plus the Jubilee line was down. We did however sell quite a few heroic peices which was good.
This week we did someting a bit different which was to leave the samples  on the counter for people to take from. Up until now I’ve kept a hold of it and offered it out more selectively to discourage grazing. The thing is that while we gave away a lot of cheese it really creates a buzz around the stall as people crowd around it and the scatter gun approach does seem to get us more sales.
Another thing is that on Friday morning we got some samples out as we were setting up, and had some cut pieces out straight away. I think some of the more serious shoppers come early so its good to be able to sell to them. Also if we start the day well with some good sales it makes us happy and then we seem to sell more.
So because I am a geek I worked out the percentage of samples to sales. Actually what really happened was that I lay on the bed holding my head and shouting, “Oh god I hate numbers. What does it all mean?” while Imo patiently and steadfastly figured out how to work this out. I am very lucky.
What we found was that while the percentage of sample compared to sales increased by 4 percent, our sales increased by 20 percent. So it was worth giving all that cheese away. Which is good because it can be painful to see people hoovering up free cheese when you think how hard Maugs and Kim work to make it.
In any given day there are always some really beautiful moments and here are a couple of them:
Imo gave a girl a taste and watched her swoon and clutch at her boyfriend’s shoulder as the beauty of the cheese overwhelmed her. They bought a nice big piece.
Someone said to me ‘I always either buy the Comte or the Caerphilly, and today it’s the Caerphilly.’ I loved that because I think Dom’s Comte is one of the great cheeses of the world, and I also think Gorwydd is. So it was nice to hear that someone else gets it.
I’m sorry that this has been so long. If I’d had more time I would have written a shorter letter.
Again this has been very serious so here is a little joke:
What cheese would you use if you wanted to hide a small horse?
Mascarpone.
We’ve all done very well. Carry on.

N

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