Friday, November 16, 2012

What to expect when you're vending

If I had to sum up my latest craft show on the campus of Plattsburgh State in northeastern New York in just one Twitter post it would read:

Great time with the most creative and positive vendors; a variety of shoppers and so many of them; met many wonderful inspiring people that I can't wait to keep in contact with; and just the right mix of DMB and Alvin and the Chipmunks over the loudspeakers.

But then I would be 128 characters over the limit, and you know what they say....

...well, they say you can only use 140 characters, so to sum up the summary:


I don't tweet much.  It's probably better that way.

But I digress.



See my face here?  This is what we all look like after a full day of smiling.  All day, smiling.

"Hello!  How are YOU!?"

"HI! Good to SEE you!"

"Love that jacket, I just LOVE that jacket!!"

This is the world of vending.

It's easy to picture the excitement of it: a crowd of people swarming and openly admiring your work, the exhilaration of making a sale.  This is the feeling that keeps us all coming back for more; I mean, besides the actual income generated.  But what's money spent on a Chipotle rice bowl compared to the thrill of verbal affirmation....right?

Am I right??

But what about those times when the crowd is reduced to a slow trickle of shoppers?  When the thrill is gone and the unavoidable lull sets in?

The following is like those stories from moms to soon-to-be-moms about how much your feet are going to swell or where you might find bulging purple veins.  You know, the unpleasantries no one tells you before you get involved but forget after it's all over because "it's just so beautiful!"

This is what happens in....The Down Time:

You think about snacks.

It's overwhelming.  When is it ok to get your next helping of sausage and peppers and where is it going to come from.  Also, which kind of pie will it be followed by.

You realize your feet hurt.

Standing all day does a number on the tootsies.  You don't notice it when you're laughing and chatting with customers, but when you have a chance to think, you think about foot massages.

You try to talk yourself out of buying that.

That shirt you'll never wear at this booth, that glass bowl you'll never use at that booth, that sock bunny the dog will end up destroying at the booth over there.  You will not be successful.  But you will leave with most of your Christmas shopping for yourself done.

You mentally calculate your sales.

After every other sale.  Why not?  Was this show worth it? you'll ask yourself.  Or more importantly, have I made enough profit to get that glass bowl??

You sit down.

This feels so good toward the end of the day you start to wonder if you really need to stand up and greet your customers or if everyone is better off if you hide behind your displays and leave them to browse in peace.

You rearrange your display.

Several times.  What is working?  What isn't working?  What can I do so I have something to do?

You plan your tear down strategy.

"How do I get out of here and into pjs as quickly as possible?"  No matter what kind of day/weekend you had, toward the end you will not be able to stop thinking about how great that flannel pajama set will feel in a nap, and you will do as much tear-down prep as you can three hours before the end of the show.


But at the end of it all, when you're laying under the covers wrapped in flannel you smile to yourself as you try to remember when the deadline is for the next show and why in the world are you taking a nap when there's so much work to be done for it.

It's a beautiful thing.


  1. Sausage, peppers and pie are 3 of the 4 things that summarize Pittsburgh. #4 is mayonnaise.

  2. Our thought processes are similar. PS - I want your necklace that you're wearing in the pictures. I may be purchasing myself an(other) early birthday present.