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Is the Customer Always Right?

Several years ago, a customer purchased a package of lamb shanks at the farmers' market.  I assumed, incorrectly, that anyone who asked for lamb shanks would know how to cook them.  The next week, the customer said, "You know, we barbecued those shanks and they were awful - way too tough!"  Rather than speak my mind, I suggested that they try one of our slow-cooked lamb shank recipes - and I gave them a free package to replace the package they'd ruined.  Our recipe was successful, and these folks have since become regular customers.

Such encounters are much less common with professional chefs, but they do happen.  On rare occasions, a chef will fail to prepare a product appropriately.  A tough steak from Iowa Beef Products (one of the biggest beef processors in the country) is one thing; a tough steak from Flying Mule Farm is quite another - customers that provide direct feedback to the farmer or rancher have every responsibility to tell us when things are bad as well as when they are good.  That said, I guess I feel like those of us who sell direct have every right to expect that the professionals who prepare and sell our products will do a good job with it, too!

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