Do you define yourself in terms of what you love or what you hate? You’ve got a choice.
When I was a kid, back in the early Seventies, I liked the hippies well enough (a lot of them were tremendously interesting people) except when they talked politics or went off on a hating jag. Often they did both at once. All those hours of ranting about Nixon boiled down to, “Don’t vote for him.” Sheesh! I wasn’t going to!
Now, obviously, if you have a line on the Best Stuff Ever, everything else pales by comparison. It’s impossible for one thing to be the Best Ever without everything else being a little worse. People understand this. So you can talk about the good stuff without going on and on about how much you hate the bad stuff. Everyone gets it!
I see this come up over and over with small-scale farming in particular and alternative living in general. People aren’t content to say that they’ve stumbled onto something really cool: they have to go on an extended rant about why everything else sucks. Very uncool. I burned out on that kind of thing in the Seventies. It just raises the question that philosophers have been asking for thousands of years: “Like, why can’t everyone just mellow out and be groovy?”
For a long time, extended rants have been rewarded. News media and advertising, in particular, thrive on crisis. The idea that adopting a more rural lifestyle might be more fulfilling than an urban rat race doesn’t sell many newpapers or bottles of pills. But if you tell people that the government is poisoning them through their tap water, it’s a different story. You can get some media coverage for free when the idea is now, and buy ad time afterwards. All you need is a product that costs nothing to manufacture, so it gives high profits that can be used to buy more advertising. Whipping up a tap-water scare and then promoting bottled tap water as the solution is a good example.
But a lot of consumers have opted out of this sort of thing. They don’t listen anymore to people they don’t trust. It’s a lot more important to be trustworthy than vivid these days. Back when I started out in the egg biz, I was foolish enough to repeat some of the usual horror stories about factory farms, but I quit because it was painful to watch my customers’ eyes glaze over. I eventually learned that nauseating my customers isn’t a good way to sell them food, and I was getting suspicious of many of the horror stories anyway. I hadn’t ever visited a factory farm, so what the heck did I know?
So now I try to stick to stuff that I’ve at least seen with my own eyes, and preferably stuff I’ve done with my own hands. That way, at least I’m only propagating my own foolishness, not other people’s. And I don’t see that “trapped animal” look in my customers’ eyes quite so often.
Accentuate the positive and your own experiences. Customers can get “lurid” anywhere. “Real” is in short supply.