A bumper crop of trustworthy customers

It’s not exactly the stuff of sophisticated CRM strategies, but AdFreak can’t help but appreciate the country wisdom in these parts, three hours north of the world’s advertising capital. Even more plentiful than the visitors from Manhattan this time of year is the bounty of Catskill tomatoes, corn, lettuce, peaches and melon. Downstate cynics snicker at the locals who put their faith in the better aspects of human nature, trusting their unmanned farm stands with a 24-hour honor system. Yet, year after year, more of these stands pop up with the spring strawberries, thrive through the summer and last into autumn with pumpkins, and even winter, with Christmas trees. The lesson to be learned here that you might not find in the scripted confines of focus groups? Sometimes people are just better than you think. If you presume a certain level of integrity and intelligence among your customers, they may feel obligated to rise to that expectation and—if these rural roadside stands are any indication—reward you for the compliment.

—Posted by Noreen O’Leary

Illustration: Lee Hulteng/KRT/Newscom