Try Before you Buy

I had often dreamed of owning an aquarium, as I thought it’d be very relaxing to watch the fish darting about.  Then I had the good fortune of babysitting my house painter’s fish tanks, and that cured me of any desire to ever own fish.  They’re filthy, stink, and are a lot of work.

The house painter’s one of those people who’s decided I’m one of his best friends, so asked if I’d watch the fish and frogs while he went to Banff for six weeks to paint a resort.  I said sure, thinking how much trouble can this be?

To clean the fish and frog crap from between the rocks I tried to use the stupid hand pump and hose, and soon had water all over my office’s wood floor.  I hadn’t realized the hose had come right out of the pail.  I swore mightily.

After six weeks of this I was ever so glad to see the back of the fish tanks.  I realize now aquarium ownership will never be something I yearn for again.  So in the end it was a handy learning experience.

Too bad it doesn’t work that way with babies.  One babysits and visits friends with kids, or sees their own siblings cope with them, and you go, “How hard can this be?”  But then you’re allowed to leave the hospital with a baby and you realize you haven’t got the faintest idea what to do with this thing.

Certainly in a food business one is very accustomed to people wanting to sample the product prior to making a commitment.  When my fruitcakes were in stores I’d give them samples for staff to hand out, or else sometimes I’d stand in a store for a couple of hours with samples.  But now that I’m selling soley on-line, there’s no opportunity for people to try them first.

Today someone e mailed me “Is there a place where I can sample your fruitcakes?”  I replied, “No there isn’t.  You just have to make a leap of faith.”  No reply.  I’m not interested in cutting up fruitcakes for people to try.

It’d be odd.  The prospective customer would have to drive over to my house, and then I’d watch them try a sample, and if they didn’t like it, would they say, “I don’t like it, good-bye?”  It seems easier in a store.

A couple of days ago I bought a fruitcake made by some young girl who was at the corner store with a table of baked goods.  She was trying to raise funds for her classmates and herself to get to an event in New York.  I saw her beautifully-iced round fruitcake, wrapped in cellophane and topped with a red bow, and I had to have it.  No samples were offered or requested.

Denis is going to pick me up on Saturday as I want to go to a Christmas tree farm and cut a live tree.  He has a pickup so offered to help me with this project.  Last weekend he put up my Christmas lights.  He’s an extremely helpful ex-husband, unlike many I hear about.

And finally, I’m finished with the season’s baking, so if I run out it’ll teach people a very valuable lesson.  I’ve had inquiries and have set aside cakes for those who ordered.  But for those who need to try it first, I’m afraid they’re likely going to be out of luck.