Friday, August 23, 2013

Small town living

A new cafe-and-store opened a while back, selling, among other things, cheese. Excitement! But although there's a cheese selection, and an excellent one, it's not entirely clear that the cheese is available for purchase. The staff hasn't quite been trained in (sorry) cutting the cheese. Or ringing it up, although they've recently made the bold-for-this-town move of putting price-per-pound on each cheese. Getting cheese at this establishment is a tremendous production, involving what starts to seem like a dismantling of their decor. (The price tags helpfully confirm that it isn't just decorative, and make me feel less guilty for inconveniencing the would-be cheese-cutters.) It's still a bit of an adventure, and one risks being sold a significantly different amount of cheese one came in for. (One time I ended up with enough for an entire Romance Languages department party, I exaggerate only slightly.) But it's well-priced, excellent cheese. What are you going to do? And it does seem to be improving. Each time I go, it's a notch less Pythonesque.

A week ago, I bought cheese at the place, went through the whole rigamarole, which I keenly remember involved two 0.28 lb. pieces of cheese being cut. I purchased one of them. A week had gone by, and back I was. I wanted more of the same delicious cheese. First a man behind the counter was about to cut some, but then his supervisor remembered that they sometimes keep smaller pieces in some other fridge, and lo and behold, the other 0.28 lb. piece and I were reunited after all.

Two thoughts of course crossed my mind: 1) that I really ought to have just bought the .56 lb. piece last week and saved the trip, and 2) how long small pieces of cheese are kept in the hidden fridge - a subset of the larger question, which is whether it makes sense to buy perishable goods from a place where you appear to be the only customer. But it's cheese, and I'm a captive audience.


Matt said...

one risks being sold a significantly different amount of cheese one came in for.

This... can be a problem. I usually ask for about 1/4 lb. of a particular cheese, or maybe 1/3 if I like it a lot and think it will keep. If I'm then offered, say, .27 or .22 lb, I don't make a big deal, but sometimes I'll be offered .35, or .18 or something, and really, that won't do. I'm sorry, but the person must re-cut. What sometimes works is asking for a physical dimension- say, for a wedge that is 1/2 inch wide on the outside, or a 1 inch thick slice or the like, though you have to have an idea of how much that will get you, and the form used by the cutter can still be important.

Phoebe said...

All of that makes perfect sense in a store where employees have kind of come around to the idea that it's their job to sell custom amounts of cheese. At this place, by the time I was being sold half-pound chunks, the ordeal had just been too great, the expression on the guy's face too pained, so I just went with it, thinking I can eat a limitless amount of cheese. Turns out I cannot.