Fall Fairs

This weekend I had the opportunity to sell my soap at a small agricultural fair. It wasn’t crazy busy, but I still managed to sell a decent amount of soap.

But there was one woman who gave me some grief…isn’t there always someone? Here’s what went down:

Annoying Woman: Hi. Can you tell me about your soaps?

Me: Sure. (Give info about the oils and natural ingredients I use) blah, blah…

AW: Well, you see, I’ve shied away from handmade soaps because I find they leave an oily scum around my tub and I don’t want to buy soap that’s going to cause me to have to clean my tub.

Me: Hmm…I’ve never heard of such a problem. None of my soaps cause an kind of “ring” around the tub, and I use them every day. Maybe the soap you tried in the past was made with different ingredients.

AW: Well. Let me go and get my glasses so I can read the labels. I’ll be right back.

Me: Sure okay. (Thinking to myself, please don’t come back, I don’t need to make a sale that badly).

Half an hour later she returns.

Annoying Woman: Okay, so which do you recommend?

Me: How about the shea butter, it’s good for the skin.

AW: Okay. I’m only going to buy one bar and see how it goes. If it causes a ring on my tub, I’m going to email you and let you know. (Picks up one of my business cards).

Me: Um…okay, give it a try. I hope you enjoy it.

Later, after I’ve had time to process this exchange, I think: Maybe she’s just an extra dirty person, and THAT’S why she has a ring around her tub. Not that I would have said that to her, but it could be her and not the soap. Also, when I gave her the total she was all like, “Oh, you charge tax?” and I said, “Yes, legally, I have to.” and she says, “Well, you never know if you have to pay tax. Some times you do and some times you don’t.” and I’m thinking, hey, do you want the bar of soap or don’t you. You could just go to the supermarket and buy a bar of soap PLUS TAX, and be done with it. And then go complain to the manager about why you had to pay sales tax, and let me know what he says.

But I guess that’s the nature of selling to the public. There will always be someone who is unhappy and projects it onto the seller. I can’t make soap that pleases everyone. I hope she uses it and likes it and I never hear from her again!

UPDATE: In response to the commenter on this post. Let me clarify: I should have mentioned that this woman was NOT VERY NICE when asking her questions. She was very defensive and spoke to me in a condescending tone. I welcome all questions from customers and don’t hesitate to answer them. It doesn’t mean I will accept abuse or nasty behavior from someone just because they are a customer. I don’t treat people that way when I am looking for information. So, again, it wasn’t her questions, it was the way she asked them and her snotty attitude that annoyed me.

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3 responses to “Fall Fairs

  1. Maybe I’m off the mark here, but I see that exchange (her questions and your answers) as being perfectly normal and fair. This is to say, I see nothing entirely unusual or unreasonable about the customer’s questions or the way you handled it.

    As a consumer, I always have questions, and I reward people like yourself who choose to take the time to answer them for me.

    Prospective customers are always going to have questions, which is one of the things that allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition.

    If it were me, I would look at that exchange with the customer as an opportunity… an opportunity to hear back from her to see if in fact your soap does or does not leave a ring in her tub. If it doesn’t, that’s a major point of differentiation to play upon when helping people compare your soap with others.

    Everything is an opportunity in business, I think.

  2. Hey, thanks for the update. I totally agree… it’s not what the customer says; it’s how she said it. Good for you for holding your breath and modeling good behavior!

  3. I get soap rings. But then I have kids that use my hand made soap in the bathtub and let it float around in there.

    It was the addition of detergents in modern products that actually prevent the soap ring, but then it also strips the hell out of your skin too.

    Which is of course why our handmade soap is much much better!

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