Saturday, November 03, 2007

Putting It Out There

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.

3 musings:

Anonymous said...

Please disabuse yourself of the myth that the customer is always right. Have you not experienced “caveat emptor?”

As a crafter I know all too well the “I can make that!” syndrome. Come up with an original idea and someone is bound to find a way to copy it. Some folks will go so far as to purchase an item that they want to copy so that they can study how it is made. Once they have copied the item’s design the least ethical ones return it for a refund. I hope that wasn’t the case in your situation.

The other possibility is buyer’s remorse. Craft shows rely very heavily on impulse purchases. Buyer’s remorse is usually not an issue at craft shows, since the remorse doesn’t usually occur until after the show is over and the seller is no where to be found. In the past, given the low cost of craft show items, most buyers wouldn’t waste the time to return an item even if they could. Unfortunately Marshall Fields and assertiveness training have changed all that. Girls buy prom dresses and return them beer stains and all for a refund, so why not return a craft item? You should be glad it wasn’t beer stained.

By taking your item the buyer denied you the opportunity to sell it to someone else. I would have at least charged a 15 percent restocking fee like the big time retailers (and where is Marshall Fields these days?).

The Beast Mom said...

hey there!
Tag you're it. ;)
just some lighthearted fun...


L.L. Barkat said...

I love the comment from "Anonymous". Most amusing, maybe even making your terrible experience worth a little something.

As for your experience, really, it sounds awful. And I'm sorry. It sounds like it was quite discouraging.