Christmas Hunting

December 13, 2004 at 1:32 am (Rant Goodness)

I found out at 5 pm last night that I had one last craft show today.

Considering that 98% of everything that I show at these things is handmade, that's not much time when you know how close to "out" of everything you are. Nothing like good, old-fashioned PANIC to make someone short-term insane. I do function well under pressure, always have–seems like stress brings out the best in me. Seems like it brings out the worst too, which bites, but is all part of life.

F'rinstance, since I had so little notice, I was up until 3:30 am making new stuff and preparing everything I had cured so I could put it out today. I even came up with a great idea for a permanent product line–the first pieces are already done, I just need to puzzle out what's going to come out next. It'll resolve a lot of what I'm not happy with in the stuff I make and give me a better way to present it all to boot.

Anyhow, I get to bed around 3:45, finally asleep about 4:30–who can sleep when they know they MUST be up again by 6 to get ready to go see if anyone likes the stuff their twisted little mind came up with this fall and winter? I can't–hence the 1 1/2 hours' sleep I wound up with. So, I'm back up at 6, out the door by 8:15–

–to a snowstorm! Yippee. People just LOVE hauling themselves around when even the county hasn't bothered to get out and clear the roads. As the car's lurching itself thru two counties and out into the sticks to the show site, I'm wondering if at the end of the day I'm gonna be hauling as much stuff home as I hauled to the show, meaning most of the people who did brave the roads and come to the show didn't like my stuff. Again. It's been a rough year economically, so show revenues are down.

Fortunately, for the most part, folks liked my stuff–I hauled home enough less of what I brought to make the day worthwhile. I sold a crapload of incense, quite a bit of soap, and enough of the other goodies I came up with to make me glad I stayed up as late as I did getting it all ready to go. Of course, there were moments.

The worst one is where two ladies had apparently come hunting instead of shopping–they moved like they were driving deer instead of enjoying Christmas shopping. After I let them know samples of everything were on the nice little tray I use so that folks don't just rip open containers of things that should stay shut, they're grabbing bottles, complaining because they're sealed shut (I seal most of the skin stuff up best I can so people don't stick fingers in lotions and body butters and other things that are meant to stay clean until someone buys them) and tossing them onto the table. Once they'd ripped off the tops of anything that would cooperate, they proceeded to pick out charcoal incense sticks…by throwing or dragging them in front of my fiance, onto the beautiful white and gold damask tablecloth my future mother-in-law donated to the cause of making the table look classy and elegant.

Nice–not only have they managed to make carefully sealed up candles and bags of scented goodies look like a tornado had hit the entire stock and totally taken out displays that took three of us over an hour to make clean, fresh, warm and inviting, they proceeded to trash the one thing we couldn't make presentable again that day! Nothing like someone crapping on hours of hard labor to make someone understand why people want to own Uzis.

I was straightening out candle wrappings and trying to get that damned charcoal off the tablecloth without taking it off and hosing it down, trying very hard not to bitch under (or not-under) my breath about dipshit bitches who have not done anything with their own two hands in 50 years when I got reminded of why I put up with people like the ones who'd just left the table.

As I was shaking my head sorrowfully and controlling the urge to throw the hefty candle in my hand after these sense-impaired excuses for sentient beings, I heard a little voice behind me. When I turned around, there was a young couple standing there, peeking around my fat butt to look at the incense display.

I got said butt out of the way, talking a little about how I made the incense and that several of the scents were my own blends and just watched their faces. I don't think they were listening except to the part about my hand-dipping them. As we talked, their faces just lit up bigtime over the display–said it was "cool" that I figured out how to make my own incense. They spent a few more minutes than some people did looking, then pulled out their money and asked what they could get for that much. I don't know why, but I took enough off (instant sale–I do that once in awhile if someone really likes something but doesn't have quite enough money with them) so they could pick out 100 sticks.

Here's the weird part–not the couple; they picked out a bit of every scent and more of their favorites as I expected and left the table delighted. The weird part was how suddenly it seemed like EVERYONE in the place wanted SOMETHING–ANYTHING–just wanted to buy something we had! I swear on my cat's whiskers, for two solid hours every single person who stopped at the table bought–people who "didn't like scented stuff" were picking out three soaps because I had a sale price if they got more than one soap, and people who loved what they saw kept picking out things and popping them into the bags! It was folks who'd come to shop, some who were selling things themselves, some who were running the show, even a few of the building staff who were on hand to deal with lighting and other matters came and left with at least ONE thing!! Normally about 1 in 4 or less will actually purchase something. Today, about 1 in 8 walked away without anything–but even they took a card so they could call me later to see if I had this or that left.

I can't explain this one–most of the other sellers didn't make much beyond the cost of the space, a few didn't make any sales at all. A few sellers packed early and left–but not before they'd picked up something or other that had caught their eye while we were handing out samples, showing people things, talking about how we made them…whatever had gotten their attention, they didn't leave until they'd gotten the thing they wanted. Usually if someone packs up early, they're so pissed off they wouldn't stop for their favorite thing if they were paid to take it home!

Seriously strange, but it reminded me of what I'd temporarily forgotten while cleaning up after Hurricane Dipshit–if I wanted slick, impersonal, cookie-cutter crap to sell, I'd be the Avon Lady. I don't do all this because I wanna be Mary Kay when I grow up–I do it because I love seeing people like what I do and how I do it! The money's nice but the real reward is knowing someone liked this stuff my brain cooked up. That's the fun part and I'd almost forgotten it.

Almost. I got reminded though.

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