Kirkland Safeway misleads customers with 'farmer-market style' ad
June 29, 2010 · Updated 11:35 AM
I was driving by a Kirkland Safeway and noticed a huge yellow banner announcing a “Farmer’s Market” over the weekend. As the manager of the Redmond Saturday Market (the Eastside’s oldest Farmers Market), I stopped in to talk to the manager of that store. Naturally, since I know many of the farmers, I wanted to know what farms would be represented. To my disappointment, the manager told me they were setting up tents in the parking lot this weekend and regular Safeway employees would be selling regular Safeway produce “farmer-market style.”
Now hold on a minute ... You mean to tell me that the big guys are so worried about their sales that they’re willing to go to the trouble of setting up tents in a parking lot to masquerade as a local farmer’s market?
Why are they doing this? Is it because they’re concerned about their produce sitting on trucks for weeks at a time traveling across several Western states? Or is it because they’re worried about the enormous footprint it makes to get fruit and vegetables here from other countries? Do they fear the educated shopper might reject this “type” of produce when they can get farm fresh at local farmer’s markets?
Or do they really just want to compete with our local farmers who get up at 2 a.m. to deliver freshly picked-in-the-last-24-hours produce that we all desire? Do the big guys think they can lure our savvy customers away by disingenuously spinning their products as local and environmentally friendly? Are they trying to garner some kind of environmental virtue by misleading the consumer with a “fake farmer’s market” set up in their parking lot? This seems a lot like trickery to me, although now-a-days it’s called greenwashing ... “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.” Yup, let’s call it that.
But who do they think their customers are? The big guys obviously don’t know you like we do. We know our customers. Our customers are a loyal, smart, caring and conscientious lot. They are a savvy (up at the crack of dawn to get the freshest pick) group of folks who won’t settle for less. Our customers show up every Saturday with their kids and their dogs and the same well-worn canvass bags.
At the market, our customers have their favorite vendors. They know where to choose their apples, who has the snappiest asparagus, the farmer with the ripest of berries. They buy their tomato plants from the same farmer every spring and they’ve been buying soap from the same soap maker for the last nine years. Our customers are patient. They wait for the abundance of summer flower baskets, the talented glass blower, the quilter, the silversmith and those glorious Washington peaches! Our customers even know through experience exactly what time those famous pink cookies will sell out every Saturday.
These are our customers, these are our locals. Our customers take pride and ownership of their farmer market and they wouldn’t have it any other way. We know our customers. What we know reassures us. We thank you for your support!
Martha Tyler, Redmond Saturday Market manager