By Chris Adams
Butchers have been left baffled after an overly keen customer came in and enquired about buying a Christmas turkey – more than 10 months in advance.
Staff at The Butcher’s Quarter in Manchester said the ‘very organised’ woman walked into the shop on February 7 and was already planning her festive meal for Christmas Day 2017 – with just 321 days to spare.
But the shop, which sold more than 200 turkeys last Christmas, was unable to give the customer a price on the poultry because they don’t know themselves how much this year’s birds will cost.
Co-owner Michelle Welshmen, who runs the artisan shop with her partner Steve Pilkington, said she was stunned to receive the enquiry just 44 days after diners digested 2016’s meal.
Michelle, 37, said: “We get some odd requests but I’ve never known anyone as organised as this.
“They say the build up to Christmas gets longer every year and this woman was clearly very organised.
“It happened while I was off last Tuesday. I came back in on the Wednesday and one of my staff said to me: ‘You’re not going to believe what we got asked yesterday’.
“They were right. I’d never have guessed it. I mean, come on. There’s still almost 11 months to go. I can’t predict the prices.
“Obviously we’re flattered at the interest but we had to advise the lady to come back in November. There’s any number of factors that could affect the price of turkey between now and then.
“There could be bird ‘flu which leads to shortages, suppliers might put their prices up. We sold them at £10 a kilogram last year but anything could happen.”
Michelle and her team, based in Manchester’s trendy Northern Quarter district, are used to unusual requests.
One customer recently asked if the shop- which also stocks wine and cheese – could source them a SHEEP’S BRAIN.
Mum-of-one Michelle said: “I have to say, I’m not a particularly Christmassy person. My birthday is on November 30 so we don’t even put decorations up in the shop until after that.
“It was a bit mad getting a request in this early, but we are used to people asking for some bizarre things.
“When the guy asked for a sheep’s brain, I thought that was a bit too far. We do get in some rare meats but that sounded disgusting.
“We’ve not even been open for two years yet and we do pride ourselves on being a bit different, but some things you have to question.
“We sold more than 200 turkeys last Christmas, which was an increase on what we did the first year we were open, but our biggest seller in December was rib-eye steak.”
“We’d be more than happy to welcome this lady back in November and take her order then when we know what we’re doing.”