You may call us fussy, but snacks for dancers are a significant detail of bringing a milonga to the market. Mint tea, nuts, slices of apple, grapes, chips. And chocolate. Always chocolate of course. For nine years, we have been spending €12.00 per night feeding adult tango dancers, who can take care of themselves, and don’t need us to provide their nutrients and vitamins. You are probably thinking there must be something behind it and you are right. It is part of the whole experience of the milonga and, to some business scientists, it is a sly marketing ploy to manipulate the subconscious desire of the dancer, to return every week.
Dancers don’t like to eat a lot before or during dancing, so to keep them going and to avoid any crankiness emerging, it is a sensible idea to have some quick-fix carbs available. It makes the ronda continue to turn. The small gesture adds to the homely atmosphere in the milonga. Like so many things you appreciate in life, you only miss them when they are gone. This is what we discover when, for logistical reasons, we have been unable to do our shopping, or if we run out of stock too early in the evening. ‘I need my chocolate!’, ladies will exclaim. Well, turns out they are not the only one! And that’s how we like it.
Ever wonder why, in supermarkets, you are forced to walk into a cool space to get your dairy products? Or why, in some road restaurants, you have to wander past twenty meters of ingredients, like raw vegetables, cheeses and meats, before you get to pay for your sandwich? The idea is, to appeal to other parts of the brain, for a more complete and conscious buying experience, and to make you feel good about the brand. Dancers present themselves in front of our bar, dehydrated, acidic and undernourished. The nibbles and snacks in front them are irresistibly free of charge.
Interesting behavioral data may be gathered, while observing how people cope with the attractions presented in front of them. Some treat the situation as a ‘giving in to a guilty pleasure’, which of course connects very well to the attraction of a milonga. They apologise for each bit of chocolate that enters their mouth. Others are more practical, they just step up to the bar, grab two handfuls of nuts, turn around, and go back to the dance floor. Another category of dancer stands at the bar in staunch denial, with their backs turned to the refreshments, actively resisting. All these responses increase the emotional bonding with the milonga, and, it is perfectly legal too!
But how can a not-for-profit, low cost milonga offer snacks for free? For this, we must disclose our mint-tea policy. We offer mint-tea for free before 20.30 hours, after that time you pay 1 euro. Fresh mint tea is a great product, because the fresh leaves suggest an exclusive drink, but mint is actually a weed that costs close to nothing. The contributory margin of one glass of mint is 99%, which means that we only have to sell 12 glasses of mint tea to cover the costs of snacks. Another secret of the milonga made public and you gotta love, how neatly this all falls into place and works together.