Selling goat's milk for human consumption poses legal challenges where we live; not so if selling for use with pets and farm animals. We've discovered that selling goat's milk for animal consumption, or selling anything else for that matter, presents other challenges -- human relations concerns. Slow learners, are we?
When my career began, I met several women who had refused to take typing classes because they didn't want to have to answer "yes" to the question, "Can you type?" Times have changed. Can you imagine high school girls today who can't type? Maybe not proper QWERTY typing, but who cares any more? Forgive me, this blog isn't about typing, it's about the culture that prompted girls to refuse to type. Our culture has changed quite a bit since then, but maybe not so much.
"What does this have to do with goat milk?" says Virginia.
Maybe nothing, bear with me. Let's say you have 5 gallons of goat milk in the refrigerator, and it's homogeneous product. Not "homogenized," but homogeneous, that is, a tablespoon from this bottle is for all practical purposes the same as a tablespoon from that bottle. You know you could buy similar milk from another goat farm for $11 per gallon. Now, someone wants to buy some of that milk from you. She says she wants to feed it to lambs who have been rejected by their mothers. Remember too, you value each gallon of that milk and have plans for it -- making cheese, for example, which will save you at least $11 the next time your family wants cheese and would otherwise have to buy it somewhere else. How much will you charge her?
It depends, doesn't it? If she's a good friend, you might charge her nothing. If she has something you'd like, you might barter with her. Okay, say you decide to barter and know she sells processed lamb for $6.50 per pound. You also know she's doesn't have much extra cash lying around and maybe not much extra lamb either. $11.00 divided by $6.50 equals 1.69. Rather than offer a gallon of milk for 1.69 pounds of lamb, which you think seems pretty steep, you offer a gallon of milk for a pound of lamb, saying "X sells milk like this for $11 a gallon; how about a pound of lamb for a gallon of milk?" Does that sound like a good deal for her? To you it does. In fact, you might even think you're being generous.
It depends on what her substitutes are. Can she buy goat milk elsewhere for less than the value she places on a pound of lamb? Can she buy something else to feed her lambs, such as a milk mix or cow's milk at Kroger?
A friendly person responds, "I'm sorry, I guess I'll buy some milk at Kroger. That's too expensive for me and asking you to accept less isn't fair because it's obviously more valuable to you."
A mean person responds, "That's ridiculous. The most I can give you is maybe a pound of ground beef."
To the first, you might think, "Hmmm. It sounds as if she really cares about me. Maybe I don't need to make as much cheese as I planned."
As for the second, what does she think I am? A typist? She's clueless as too how much effort it takes to get each gallon of milk into its bottles. Get lost.
Well, whether she's inconsiderate, mean or simply clueless, she appears to value her pound of lamb more than your gallon of milk. Could it be because deep down inside she thinks "men" (or "real farmers") raise lambs and women (or "hobbyists") milk goats?
"I think she could use some serious coaching," says Virginia. "Maybe yodeling would help."
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