With farmers markets opening around the country (other than in nice warm climates where they run year-round), I thought it would be appropriate to pause and review a few etiquette pointers. Shopping at the farmers market is nothing like shopping at your local grocery store, and I've been to a few markets where this lack of structure turns into an etiquette nightmare. I think some people (not you, of course) would do better if there were rules posted. If there were, perhaps they would read something like this:
The Ten Commandments of The Farmers Market
1. Thou shalt bring enough cash, preferably $1, $5, and $10 bills. Quarters are like gold and shalt be brought along as well. Many vendors, particularly at smaller markets, hath not adopted the high-tech payment systems thou useth everywhere else. Cash is king.
2. Thou shalt bring something to put thine purchases in, preferably a little wheeled cart (this is the one I useth) and/or several reusable bags.
3. Thou shalt politely greet thine farmers before asking for the items thou wouldst like to buy. Thine farmers have been up since 4 o'clock in the morning (or earlier), and appreciate a little courtesy.
4. Thou shalt not smoke anywhere near the farmers market (!!). Wouldst thou smoketh in thine grocery store??
5. Thou shalt not slip small items (such as crafts or jewelry) into thine pockets.
6. Thou shalt not argue with thine farmer over the price of the item thou wouldst like to buy. This is not a yard sale, although it looketh like one.
7. If thou art a photographer (amateur or otherwise), thou shalt not take photos of thine farmer, thine farmer's family, or thine farmer's products without first asking permission. Preferably, thou shalt buy something from them as well.
8. Thou shalt not bring thine dog to the farmers market, unless ye dog is so small that he fitteth into thine purse (or is a companion animal). When everyone bringeth his dog to the farmers market, particularly when half these souls art the owners of a large, angry breed barely contained by ye leash, the farmers market turneth into a hazard for all instead of a pleasant Saturday morning.
9. Thou shalt not barge in line, elbowing other customers out of the way in thine pursuit of the best tomato. Thou shalt ask, ever so nicely, "Art thou in line?" first. Then thou mayest grab the tomato.
10. Thou shalt always buy whatever it is that ye Boy Scouts or ye Girl Scouts selleth, even if thine spouse complains loudly that it is "junk food." It is thine duty to set a good example for the next generation by being charitable. Thou dost not have to actually eat ye Thin Mints (well, maybe one).