Thursday, January 31, 2008

Who moved the cheese?

The Little Shop by Christa Kieffer
The Little Shop

At last I can see the fridge empty. The last of the cheese sell by dates was today and apart from trying to shift it on a buy one get one free basis, and having frozen some, we have a clean fridge. What follows will be a thorough clean of the display cabinet and a new order for next week.

Stock management is difficult to gauge. I can understand supermarkets having loyalty cards because they register what you have bought, leading to analysis of your buying habits. Here in the village shop its an alltogether more low key affair. We pay more attention to what the customer says and then purchase some variety. One lady asked for Shropshire blue cheese which sounds lovely but can only be obtained by us in a large quantity and as she told me that she is only allowed a limited quantity per week, it would take months to clear that.

We have brought in more yoghurts, natural and greek yoghurt and cottage cheese for the people following their New Year diet, but I have to say that the Somerset Brie packs a nice punch in a baguette with cranberry sauce on a cold day.

Its still early days for us and in a bid to bring in more healthy options we are researching which wholefood products will suit our clients.

And then there is Valentine's Day and Easter to plan for. We shall be asking all the men in the village whether they have got their card and gift planned. Every little nudging helps, but it will not be in your face. The local florist is on hand to work on surprises.

I rather like the variety of clients ; small children spending pennies gathered together over the weekend, and older people coming out in between rainy showers to pass the time of day and purchase a pack of tea. Halfterm will be soon and we will stock glace cherries, iced lemon slices and chocolate buttons for grandmothers who will be making fairy cakes. Magical.

The pace is gentle with plenty of banter and village chats. Some people are practising a rather Texan accent as the village panto is being performed in a few weeks time. Frought times in the square!

The shop definitely has a rhytm and we do not simply see it as a shop, but a meeting place, a place where you can get information and where the owners care about you as a customer, where there is time to stare and ponder ( even if it is unintentionally!).

That is the snapshot of January in the village shop.


barbara said...

Hello -
Enjoyed the word pictures your essay created. Can you please provide enlightenment as to what halfterm, fairy cakes, and village pantos that require a Texas accent are? Many thanks from Barbara in Georgia, USA, where I am happy to say it is raining tonight!

Anne said...

Hi Barbara

Halfterm is a holiday in between two parts of the school term. It usually means a weok off and as we have a few grandmothers living in the village they look after the children and make cakes.

Fairycakes are small cakes, victoria sponge ( a sponge cake) decorated with any colour icing and anything else you can think of.

The pantomime is something typically english : a theatre piece based on a story where the characters dress up heavily, local jokes are made. Its done by amateurs. It uslaly has a dame, a man dressed up like a woman who tells jokes and throws sweets in the audience. Its good fun and relieves the darkness of the cold months. It is rehearsed for months. As this year it takes place in the wild west, we have people practicing their texan twangs which is different from the Queen's english.
More on that later.

Thank you so much for your comments, it makes the conversation twofold.