I am really pissed off, though I’m not sure whether it’s partly at myself for not thinking of it.
Having spent yesterday afternoon assembling my ‘packaging’ all over the dining room table, I spent this morning making biscuits. I wasn’t sure how many to aim for initially, so I did one lot of each of four recipes – peanut cookies, blueberry macaroons, standard shortbread and some flapjack. I don’t normally do blueberry biscuits, but I had some blueberries in the fridge that needed to be used, and to be honest, they really did look a rather pretty colour.
Then I needed to wait for them all to cool down, so picked out the boxes for each of them – I decided against the green tissue paper with the blueberry macaroons, though it looked okay with the flapjack – and then finished off the ironing. Finally, at around 4 o’clock, things had not only cooled down enough to be packed up, but I had successfully matched up lids with bottoms so that each box of six biscuits (or four pieces of flapjack, but they’re slightly larger pieces) and finally summoned up the courage to go round to the deli and see I could come to some arrangement with Edith, the owner.
“They look much better packed up like that,” she said, though not as enthusiastically as I had hoped.
“Good, I’m glad you like it. So, how does this work? Do you take a fee for selling them for me, or do you just want to buy them off me and then sell them yourself?” I had already decided that I would accept 80p per pack, which should cover the cost of ingredients, tissue paper and card, but I wanted to see what Edith would offer.
“Oh no, dear, I can’t take them now!”
“But... but... you said you liked the packaging!” I couldn’t believe that all my hard work would have gone to waste.
“It’s too late in the day; we close early on a Tuesday so I’m not expecting many more customers today, and we’re closed tomorrow. Any that you left here now would be well past their best by Thursday. You need to bring them in first thing in the morning, dear.”
I looked down at my carton of boxes, delicately folded and still oozing the smell of peanuts and cinnamon. She was right, they wouldn’t be as nice on Thursday. My business was going to collapse before it had even started. “But what am I going to do with them?” I wailed. “I’ve got about eighty biscuits here, and there’s only me and my husband at home.”
“You could host a coffee morning tomorrow,” Edith suggested. “Or, if you don’t want to do that, there’s some fundraiser coffee morning tomorrow at the parish hall, maybe they’d appreciate them. But I really can’t take them now, there’d be no point. If you do another batch tomorrow and bring them in first thing on Thursday, we can work out a suitable price and percentage then.”
Edith was adamant that she wouldn’t take them so I lugged the carton back home. Well, I say lugged, it wasn’t really that heavy, I just hadn’t been prepared for it. Later this evening, I phoned Delyth and told her what had happened.
“Well,” she said, “I can tell you’re a bit disappointed, but there are a couple of positives in this.”
I expressed my disbelief quite vehemently; I was still smarting from having been turned down.
“No, really,” she said. “Firstly, Edith at the deli thought the packaging looked enough for you to sell them like that, so that’s a good start.”
That was a fair point. “But I can’t see any other advantage. I’m just left with a load of biscuits, and most of my friends work, so even if I wanted to host a coffee morning, it’s not really an option.”
Delyth was not to be put off. “You know that rather cheesy saying about how a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet? Why don’t you go and meet some of your new friends tomorrow, at this charity thing? Take the biscuits, donate them to charity – which will go down well for starters – and at the same time, you’re doing some advertising. Which reminds me, I haven’t dropped off those labels yet. Just put your name and phone number on them, unless you want to call the business something else. That way, people who try them tomorrow will recognise them at the deli.”
She has a point. She’s dropping the labels off once she’s finished her dinner and then I can spend the rest of the evening writing them as neatly as possible. I’m still pissed off, though.