I spent six hours over the last two days sitting in a mostly empty gym, behind a mostly filled table, waiting. Around the perimeter of the gym were a line of other mostly filled tables, with people sitting behind them, waiting. In between long stints of waiting a person or two would enter the gym. At first, most of us behind the tables would get to our feet and appear alert and interesting. The person (or persons) would slowly walk past each table, stopping to look and engage in conversation with the lively table-sitter, perhaps even picking something.
And so it went, hour after hour. As the waiting progressed, table-sitters here and there would wander from their own table to visit another, quickly returning to their post when a new person arrived. But over time, when a new person would pass through the doors, not as many of the table-sitters would bother to return to their own spot, or if at their table, could muster the energy to stand.
It was wearying, this waiting to be picked. So much like grade school gym. The captains going down the line, assessing your skill and then passing you for another, more able body. But in gym, there was a rule, an unspoken rule: once a person was chosen, they were yours. No tradebacks. No refunds. Being picked last was a cruel fate. To be returned would be worse.
But in business, there is the opposite rule: the customer is always right. And so I, after all those hours of waiting, received the ultimate rejection: "I came back to return this. It wasn't what I really wanted". It was shocking, to say the least. Being picked, then tossed back. A complete breach of etiquette. But what could I do?
Only one thing and that is this: to warn you dear reader, a craft show is not a department store. Many of the people there are selling you the work of their hands, in essence a piece of themselves. Shop wisely; be respectful. And remember what it was like in grade school gym.