VIRTUAL FARMERS MARKET: DIRECT TO YOUR DOORSTEP IN 3D
Regular readers of DOS HERMANOS may recall that, last June, I put up a post about Marcus Carter, perpetual motion in human form, who sells the worlds best peanut butter. Delighted though I was to find a UK source for one of my favourite things to eat, my initial reason for meeting Marcus was to discuss his nascent online project The Virtual Farmers Market which he hoped would bring food shopping into a new era with the use of online gaming technology.
Things had gone a bit quiet from Marcus since our initial chat (and if anyone has had their ears talked off by him, you will know that is a hard thing to achieve) and I wondered if he had decided to concentrate on his other businesses ventures, putting aside the VFM because of the development cost it was incurring and the time it was taking from more profitable endeavours.
Then, in January, I got the call to say it was up and running and he came to my apartment to give me a demonstration. I wrote a piece about it for The Guardian's WORD OF MOUTH blog, where the response was, to be honest, a bit sniffy. I can understand why. The fun and games of finding your way around the virtual market is all well and good, but if the service and the product is not up to scratch, then it is all so much piss and wind. There was only one way to find out if it was any good or not and that was to spend some of my own cold hard cash to see what happened.
I had not played a video game since the early 1980's when the very notion of table tennis on your TV set was a central story for Judith Hann on Tomorrow's World. Despite that, I found the website easy to navigate and a fun diversion as I was able to "walk" around the market and meet the producers, clicking on the link to see short videos of them describing their products. The ordering system is easy and a few button presses later, I had reached the minimum order level of £30 (now reduced to £25 I notice) and received a mail telling me that my goods were on their way. True to their word, an AM order one day received an AM delivery the next day. The packaging was secure and fresh produce, in this case a package of Label Anglais chicken breasts, was surrounded with ice packs. All in all an easy and pleasant ordering experience.
None of this would matter, of course, if the produce wasn't up to much, but Marcus has worked hard to bring in excellent suppliers from the UK and further abroad and, although the list is a bit limited at the moment, it is growing all the time. Mind you, as long as he keeps stocking Koeze Cream Nut Peanut Butter he will be hearing from me a lot more than he ever could have wanted.
Well worth a try.