Categories: Vegetables

Market agents – will they never learn?

Recently a senior market agent was complaining to me about other market agents on the market bad-mouthing his sales staff…

Will some market agents never learn? Don’t they understand the ethical requirements of their job? Do they remember nothing from the training they’ve received? What is it about some people that they can’t resist the opportunity to smear others? Answering all these questions would take volumes. For now, I want to remind producers – who are, after all, the main readers of this magazine – that they too have a responsibility whenever these distasteful episodes play out.

Ramifications
Even if it’s in the course of idle chat, if you listen to one salesperson attack another unchallenged, you’re aiding and abetting them in breaking their code of conduct and the law! But the ramifications go beyond the truth or otherwise of the allegations made. I’ve not met a producer, or any other person for that matter, who openly supports this sort of behaviour, because the implication is clear. If salesman X can say those things about others, can he be trusted to tell you the truth about your products on the market floor?

But, as I’ve indicated, certain things are said in the guise of skinder. And if you have the slightest respect for yourself and your products, your reaction should be clear and decisive: “Stop your gossiping immediately, and if you talk like that again, I’ll find another market agent, because I no longer trust you.” (Be as diplomatic as you like, but that should be the import of your message.) If the person isn’t your agent and is trying to win your custom, tell them to get lost.

Golden rule
The reason why I suggest such strong responses is simple. You and your agent are supposed to be in a trust relationship, and gossiping about others is not one of its components. A trust relationship is built on positives, not negatives. If you have a problem with your market agent, your first responsibility is to address the matter directly with your agent – not to listen to hearsay from another source.

Finally, remember the Golden Rule of Ethics: “How would I like it if this was being said about me?”

Contact Mike Cordes at farmersweekly@caxton.co.za. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.

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Tags: fresh producemarket agentsproducers

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