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"how Bad Can It Get?" Craft Show War Stories

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#1 Isculpt

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 12:46 AM

Reading "Clay Lover's" post about her terrible craft show customer made me think about the mishaps and misfortunes we've all survived if we've done any shows at all.  It reminded me of my favorite "how bad can it get" story.  It happened at an indoor craft show in the North Carolina mountains one Thanksgiving weekend.  Attendance was almost non-existant, and there was a group of perhaps 10 craftspeople gathered in the aisle near my booth.  The show was so bad for all of us that we had long since moved past hope, rolled through despair and settled into glum commiseration.  Our downcast group was joined by a potter with an utterly hangdog expression.  He told us that he had just made a huge sale to a woman who bought several of his best pieces as a Christmas gift for her mother, whom she described as a discriminating and avid collector of pottery.  He told us that, eager to make a good impression, he was chatting up the customer when he asked where her mother lived.  As she tore the check from her checkbook and handed it to him, she responded with the name of a North Carolina city.  Seeing the promise of future pottery sales, he happily informed her that his work was sold by a gallery in that city, where her mother could add to the generous grouping the daughter had just purchased.  The customer reached out and gently pried the check from his fingers, explaining apologetically that the gallery in question belonged to her mother. 

 

I will never forget the deafening roar of laughter that greeted that story's end.  We laughed until we were bent double, breathless and teary-eyed.  Craftspeople three and four aisles away left their booths to see what could possibly cause that level of hilarity, especially in such a depressing show.   It was a moment of such total camaraderie that despite my own terrible sales tally, that craft show remains one of my best craft show memories.

 

So, how about sharing your own "How bad can it get?" craft show stories?



#2 Pres

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:33 AM

How about the "early bird" all set up and ready to go when the booth next door pulls in to set up, gets to close to their booth area to open the big van doors, backs up right into "early bird"s booth smashing booth and pottery to irreparable pieces. Didn't happen to me, saw itnext block from me at Penn State.


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#3 Isculpt

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:23 PM

How about the "early bird" all set up and ready to go when the booth next door pulls in to set up, gets to close to their booth area to open the big van doors, backs up right into "early bird"s booth smashing booth and pottery to irreparable pieces. Didn't happen to me, saw itnext block from me at Penn State.

 

YOWWW!!!!



#4 JustPeachy

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 09:38 PM

How about the "early bird" all set up and ready to go when the booth next door pulls in to set up, gets to close to their booth area to open the big van doors, backs up right into "early bird"s booth smashing booth and pottery to irreparable pieces. Didn't happen to me, saw itnext block from me at Penn State.

You break it, you bought it still applies, right?



#5 GEP

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 10:18 PM

My worst battle was with mother nature. Still get a stomach ache when I read this again:

http://www.goodeleph...s-artscape.html
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#6 Babs

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 07:14 PM

My worst battle was with mother nature. Still get a stomach ache when I read this again:

http://www.goodeleph...s-artscape.html

Everything fades to trivia on reading this!

Such a thing as event insurance? We take out fire, freaky weather ins. on some of our crops, God intervention is not in this cover!

Hope your other craft fares are great. Amazing pots! What an advert for your work.



#7 Mark C.

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 12:27 PM

lets see-wind destroyed booths-shows with zero customers-vendors pitching pennies to keep awake-promoters who failed to get a people into the halls and we all lost our shirts

Bad nieghbors with mean dogs nieghbors at show who brought thier chicken-ye a chicken

How about another booth in your space who refuses to move(an old geeezer with walking sticks)

Earthquake closes show the indoor show in LA back in 1980-that was fun.

Portland Or 2 feet of snow stops city dead and the hall only has us crafties all day stuk inside-they close show but you cannot get out as back then portland had zero snow removale stuff-that was 81 if I recall

Dog fight in my both smashes stuff-

another stupid dog story -the nieghbors booth is dog hats on dogs and one of his dogs jumpsinto my pots and smashes some-he refused to pay 1/2-my usual deal as real piece of work-

Booth next door falls onto my booth and pots are down

The idiot storys for me (and this is only 20 years worth of my 40 )read like a thick novel

I'm picky on my nieghbors and after a few words know how it all will go for them-

Like last weekend-mentioned some small talk-oh ya my wife created this whole idea of broken glass recyled lamp shades.

I saw them as cut you apart when touched and sales where slow at best-I can tell a lot these days before the show opens on how whatevers new item will do or if my nieghbors will be good bad or worse-seen it all.

How about drunks about to fall into your display

If these sound far fetched then you have not done many shows

I'm cutting this short as I have another 10 pages of this war story stuff

I'm seasoned now and when dropped behind enemy lines to sell pots I get the job done even with a band of bozos trying hard around me to bring the house down.

Mark


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#8 JBaymore

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 01:02 PM

I'm seasoned now and when dropped behind enemy lines to sell pots I get the job done even with a band of bozos trying hard around me to bring the house down.

 

 

Cortright.  Mark Cortright.  (-Cue theme from Bond-)  ;)


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#9 Babs

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 05:15 PM

lets see-wind destroyed booths-shows with zero customers-vendors pitching pennies to keep awake-promoters who failed to get a people into the halls and we all lost our shirts

Bad nieghbors with mean dogs nieghbors at show who brought thier chicken-ye a chicken

How about another booth in your space who refuses to move(an old geeezer with walking sticks)

Earthquake closes show the indoor show in LA back in 1980-that was fun.

Portland Or 2 feet of snow stops city dead and the hall only has us crafties all day stuk inside-they close show but you cannot get out as back then portland had zero snow removale stuff-that was 81 if I recall

Dog fight in my both smashes stuff-

another stupid dog story -the nieghbors boooth is dog hats on dogs and one of his dogs jumpsinto my pots and samashes some-he refused to pay 1/2-my usual deal as real piece of work-

Booth next door falls onto my booth and pots are down

The idiot storys for me (and this is only 20 years worth of my 40 )read like a thick novel

I'm picky on my nieghbors and after a few words know how it all will go for them-

Like last weekend-mentioned some small talk-oh ya my wife created this whole idea of broken glass recyled lamp shades.

I saw them as cut you apart when touched and sales where slow at best-I can tell a lot these days before the show opens on how whatevers new item will do or if mu nieghbors will be good bad or worse-seen it all.

How about drunks about to fall into your didplay

If these sound far fetched then you have not done many shows

I'm cutting this short as I have another 10 pages of this war story stuff

I'm seasoned now and when dropped behind enemy lines to sell pots I get the job done even with a band of bozos trying hard around me to bring the house down.

Mark

Mark If you want to lessen the competition from up and coming potters just write the book , more than some will put this life choice in the too hard basket leaving the field to the mad.



#10 Pugaboo

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 07:33 PM

How about the day a woman walked into the middle of my booth bent over puked then left without saying a word. I had just purchased a new outdoor carpet to add a more gallery feel to the booth. Maybe she was commenting on my work. It was soooo rude and let me tell you a whole ice chest full of water bottles is NOT enough to get rid of that stench!

At another show a woman was walking along yanking on her unruly child when she pulls him up short shakes him points at all the booths around her and says... "you better get your act straight or you're going to end up like these people here!" Talk about being lowered to a level that's less than human. I wanted to walk out and tell her to please quit abusing her child and that oh by the way most of the people in the tents around her probably have a higher education and IQ than she does and chances are we make more than she does too. I didn't of course since you can't really talk to people like that.

I've seen people back over other peoples booths had someone drive over my packed tent bags bending poles into new shapes, saw someone looking for his spot hop out of his van to check the space number but not put the van in park and got to watch it do what a van in gear can do and it's not pretty. Did the Columbus art festival that they refused to cancel even though someone had been killed touching one of the light posts on one of the bridge. So instead of doing the smart thing and canceling the show they went ahead with it but reorganized all the booths to avoid certain areas. I ended up in a dead end alley saw like 3 people the whole weekend. It also didn't help that the news was playing the story 24/7 and nobody wanted to risk electrocuting their families by coming down to the area. I can't blame to public for not showing up but I can blame the promoters for not canceling and letting those of us traveling halfway across the country not waste our money.

The list could go on and on you kind of collect these little lumps of coal if you do shows long enough.

Terry
The world is but a canvas to the imagination - Henry David Thoreau

#11 JBaymore

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 09:37 PM

........"you better get your act straight or you're going to end up like these people here!"

  :lol:  :lol:  :lol: :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  

 

Love that one!

 

best,

 

.................john


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#12 Chris Campbell

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 10:22 PM

 

........"you better get your act straight or you're going to end up like these people here!"

  :lol:  :lol:  :lol: :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  :lol:  

 

Love that one!

 

best,

 

.................john

 

 

Yes, it do give us folks da warm fuzzies when you ax like we cayunt hear ya


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#13 weeble

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 12:27 AM

Hey Mark, I see we've done some shows in common!

 

lets see-wind destroyed booths-

Yep, did one was in Crescent City... wind blew over booths, street barricades, anything and everything.  The vendors were all totally sandblasted and dodging traffic as we packed it up at noon.  Another in Bandon, at least there though I managed to keep things from self destructing and cars wizzing by the booth wasn't an issue.  A couple on the Brookings Boardwalk, but they were good shows once I had someone crawl under the boardwalk and run a line around so I was literately tied down to the boardwalk.

 

How about drunks about to fall into your display

Yep, North Country Fair.  Nothing like having your booth backed up to the local liquor store that has tied a bottle opener to the corner stop sign for the duration.  The falling drunks missed me that year (but got the booth next to me) and next I requested a booth round the corner some...

 

Then there have been the Ash Rain show (Biscuit fire fall out, nasty stuff on woodwork) and the RAIN rain show - another Festival of the Arts, a few years later where my booth was in 3 inches of water most of the second day after an overnight deluge.  A bunch of duds where nobody came but the vendors.  The down-a-dark-hall shows where I watched the customers stream by going around the corner and mostly missing our hallway.

 

Then there was the dead-alternator show, where my truck made it exactly half way to the show.  But I had a spare battery for booth lighting, five miles of power cord and a charger in the truck, so I had the tow truck haul me to the motel I had reservations at and plugged in there.  Would have been ok, except some shmuck stole the battery charger from under the truck.  I drove back in daylight so it all worked out.  Eventually.

 

Oh my.  There's a reason I don't do many shows anymore!


Maryjane Carlson

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#14 mregecko

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 09:53 PM

I didn't of course since you can't really talk to people like that.


You and I may disagree on that point ;-)

#15 DarrellVanDrooly

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:28 PM

I did a craft fair in Pagosa Springs (a tourist town) in front of a hotel/resort/thing last year. My kiln had decided to stop working before I had a chance to make enough inventory to fill up my booth. I had about 40 pots to fill up a 10 x 10 booth, but I'd already payed to be vending for the weekend and had everything planned so I went down there anyway. It was a three day show and I'd sold out except for 1 bowl by noon on the second day. I remember the artist who had a booth next to me looked over at me, cracked up and said "this is the most pathetic thing I've ever seen! You look like you're a 5 year old running a lemonade stand with one cup of lemonade". After that crafter after crafter walked up to my booth said things like "always bring three times more than you think you'll sell" and "well you can't break down your tent 'til 5 so try to act confident i guess" until 5 came around. This isn't terrible except for the fact that I sold out but only made a half what i'd expected to/needed to make, and it was pretty humiliating. But if this is the worst trade show story I have then i've got it pretty darn great.

 

Darrel


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