Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Q4U: Do you sample at the orchard?


The brilliant afternoon sun glistens on the apples as you and your family stroll between the rows of trees. The shed full of employees is out of sight, and only one other family is in the row, but they are out of earshot. The little red wagon provided by the u-pick orchard squeaks behind your eight-year-old, two baskets half-filled with golden deliciousness.


This is one of your favorite autumn traditions, and, as you pull your sweater closer, your heart swells with contentment…until you hear your mom munching.

“These Golden Delicious are fantastic this year,” she says around a mouthful.

“Mom? What are you doing?”

“Just trying an apple. I need to see if they’re any good.” She swallows and tosses the core under a nearby tree. “Now I need to try a Jonathon.” She crosses the aisle to the row of Jonathon and plucks a large red apple from the tree.

A few trees later, your mom tosses her second apple core under a tree and grabs a third apple. “Hey,” she crunches, turning to the children, “why don’t you children try an apple?” She plucks enough apples off the closest tree for each child to have one and holds them out to the children. The children stand immobile, not sure whether to take the apples or not, and all heads slowly swivel to you.

You –

  1. Say, “Sure, kids, eat all you want,” and continue filling the baskets. The folks who run the orchard probably expect to lose a few apples, and they'll never notice anyway.
  2. Take the apples from your mother and put them in your basket. “Thanks, Mom,” you say, and continue on down the aisle.
  3. Tell your children, “We’ll pay for those first,” and give your mother a look.
  4. Glare at your mother and say, “Mom, that’s stealing. What are you trying to teach my children?”


What would you do? What are some other options?












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13 comments:

  1. I would pick number 2. When we go to the orchard, I always ask if they care if we have one. Sometimes they say yes. I would never eat them before paying for them. It's no different than going to the store and trying them and leaving the bag. At one orchard we went to it was the last of them and they told us to eat all we wanted while we picked. I even said are you sure. And she said they will only go to waste. So it doesn't hurt to ask.

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    1. Good idea to ask before you even head for the trees, Michelle. Thanks!

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  2. The orchards we have visited allow sampling. We take a knife and share different varieties, so we aren't leaving a trail of half-eaten apples behind us. If sampling were not allowed, I would talk to Mom through my children when she bit into the first apple, "Remember children, we have to pay for the apples, so if we eat some, we won't be able to fill our bag because we only paid for as many apples as will fit in this bag." This wouldn't work at a per/lb orchard though. I like your option 2. I don't think I could think of such a graceful response on the spot like that.

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    1. I don't think I could think of that response on the spot either, Alicia. I had time to think of it as I wrote the post! I would also tend toward talking to Mom through the children, but let's stir the pot a little bit. What if Mom got upset?

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  3. Hi Meghan, I'm with the other gals -- I pick option 2. I hope. Actually, I just hope it'd pass option 4 in the race to my lips. Option 4 would be right on its heels ;)

    Linking up from WIP,
    Susan in VA

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    1. I appreciate your honesty, Susan. And I appreciate your mama bear tendencies! Thanks for commenting.

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  4. I always ask whether sampling is allowed - especially since, if it is, I know I'll eat about 7-8 along the way!

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    1. Good idea -- asking is usually a good course of action in just about any situation. Thanks, Elizabeth.

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  5. Very interesting question. I guess I would ask ahead of time, but who knows what I would do. Likely I would leave my mom behind to begin with. :) Sorry, I know that's no help. I found you at Denise in Bloom and clicked over expecting... well not a question like this. But I am curious now, what did you do?

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    1. This question isn't exactly from my life, just one I've wondered! We have taken my MIL to the orchard, and she samples freely. But the orchard where we go has no problem with that. Of course, this question also brings in the issue of parental authority - another difficulty in the lives of a lot of us. The answer really just depends on what type of person you are and what type of person the mother is. Maybe I wonder too much, but I just like to share my wonderings with you. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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  6. I guess a combination of number 2 and 3. I'd say "Thanks, mom" then look at the children while I'm putting them in my bag and remind them that we'll pay for them first and enjoy them on the ride home. I'd probably give her an incredulous look though.

    And again, this goes back to the relationship, because if it were my MIL, we would have to handle it more gently...while still maintaining our ethics.

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    1. Perceptive as always, Crystal! It's fun to write and think about these Q4Us, but there really can't be just one way to handle it because so much of it depends on the people in the situation. I appreciate your honesty.

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  7. Well, it never even occurred to me that sampling might be akin to stealing! Guess I better think twice and ask first next time!

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I so much appreciate your time and effort in leaving a comment, and I try to respond to as many as time permits. :-)