I grew up in an area that produced 80% of the world’s hard shell clams. The clams had great names like cherry stone, little necksand top neck. To the uninformed or visitor to the Great South Bay, an opened clam was and is quite a sight. Unlike anything you’ve ever seen, a little neck has some purple and crimson on the shell, pink on the muscle, rich caramels and tans on the meat and a little pocket of black (don’t ask) –a bit like a nursery school drawing. The clam is nestled in a cool saline broth that to some appears like what my father might have called “the doggie’s dinner.”
Enter Uncle Carl. A transplant to Los Angeles, Uncle Carl had two reasons to come back East. One, to visit family. Two, to eat clams. And eat he did. Voraciously. To watch his face, to hear the smile-affected slurp, to listen to his appraisal of each morsel (at my young age I wasn’t always sure of all the metaphors) was to know consumer love. Without telling me I needed to try them, Uncle Carl was the hard shell clams’ best salesman. He didn’t entertain, he didn’t story tell, he didn’t need a spokesperson – he just shared the experience. Experiential marketing, modeling marketing are two of the best sales tools in the kit.
Though hard shell clams are not that common here today on the Great South Bay, they are still among for most wonderful treasures on the planet. Treasures I may never have tried had it not been for Uncle Carl Alf. What a salesman, what a teacher. Peace.