Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Receiving Gifts at Craft Fairs
I love craft shows. I love going to craft shows and I love selling at craft shows. Art is my hobby, my passion, and my part-time job. I never fail to get excited when talking about my art: the materials, the techniques, the ideas. And I enjoy hearing shoppers tell stories of their creative endeavors and sharing their art experiences. Fairly low on the list of reasons why I do craft shows is actually selling things and making money. Still, I stir at the possibility of a sale…
The woman and her children approached my table with purpose. Something had caught her eye. She picked up a simple ornament, beveled glass diamonds, soldered together to resemble the Texas star, and turned it in her hands. The little piece is a sensory treat- the glass, thick and smooth, is usually cold, the soldered tips-just pointy enough, and the weight is just right. It feels good in your hand. They all nodded approvingly, she smiled at me, offered the obligatory compliment and then gently set the piece back on the table. She’d need to show her husband. They wandered away and I returned to my perch, a bit confused. I thought I had a sale. The woman returned later with one of the children and asked if I would mind holding the star for a while. This felt promising and I readily agreed. Later, one of the children tugged her father up to the table and showed him the star. He exclaimed over it as well, agreed it was lovely and returned it to the table. The woman returned once more to look at it and then left again.
When she left the room, neighboring vendors voiced their opinions on this odd display. “God woman. Get a backbone. If you want it, buy it! Why do you need your husband’s approval?!” “Like she can’t afford $10.00.” “You ought to tell her you can’t hold it all day.” I have a policy of never, ever, speaking negatively at craft shows so I kept my thoughts to myself- but don’t worry, I did think the same things. It was just so strange. I was definitely confused and slightly irritated by the idea that purchasing my little star was something that required a unanimous vote. It was frustrating. I didn’t like holding my inventory in reserve but I had promised I’d set it aside for her and I wouldn’t go back on my word.
Toward the end of the day, the family returned to consider the star one last time. Finally, they all agreed to buy it. As I began to complete the sale and wrap it up, the rest of the family slipped away, and the woman stepped next to the table. “You must think us a peculiar bunch making such a fuss over a little ornament.” I dismissed her concern with a smile and noted that I like to get my husband’s opinion on things, too and I thought it was nice. It was ok, but she needed to continue. “My sister died a few months ago and we decided that for Christmas we wanted to get an ornament that would remind us of her and represent her beautiful spirit. It had to be just perfect and everyone had to love it and be sure it was right. This star is just perfect for her. We love it. Thank you so much.” And she walked out.
From time to time, I think about this.