Crafts Shows R Us #17: Just A Little Bit Of Drama

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Blog entry by closetguy posted 11-09-2010 04:10 AM 2085 reads 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 16: Sometimes It's Just Plain Bad Part 17 of Crafts Shows R Us series Part 18: How 2010 Finished Out »

I have good shows, bad, shows, wet shows, and hot shows. Every show is different, but they all seem to have one thing in common; the drama. Uneventful shows tend to track with the size of attendance. Large shows will normally bring more drama than small ones. Drama can take on the form of bad weather, disorganized shows, or idiot customers. There is usually some mini drama at every show which can be easily dealt with by a polite comment. These are some of the more extreme ones.

I am normally a very laid back person and it takes a lot to spin me up. However, the biggest thing that gets me fired up is kids. Young parents today are raising a large crop of the most spoiled brats that I have ever seen. They come into the booth needing to touch, grab, and pick up anything within arm’s length while the parent completely ignores what their kid is doing. Even if the parent says something to the kid, they get ignored and the kid continues with their destructive rampage. There have been numerous occasions where I have asked the parent to leave and take their brat with them. It’s disappointing that I have to watch their kids because they won’t. The only exception to this is Asian kids. Asian kids will come in with their hands behind their back and just look. If one even thinks about touching something, their parents are quick to chastise them. Lazy susans are the draw for kids. They always want to see how fast they can spin them while the idiot parent stands behind them commenting on how fast they spin. No wonder the kid is a brat. I will also stop both the kid(s) and parents immediately if the kid has cotton candy or an ice cream cone in their hand. This is a disaster waiting to happen.

I had my post office banks sitting on a shelf at a recent show and a parent and her kid were looking at them. Of course, the kid had the desire to touch everyone on each shelf which didn’t bother me. When he finished touching all the ones he could reach, he proceeded to climb up my shelves to touch the ones on the upper shelves that he couldn’t reach. The whole time this was happening, the parent was standing there watching him do this like he was playing on a Jungle Jim. I promptly asked her “Lady, what the hell are you doing letting your kid climb up my display?”. Of course, she didn’t even offer an apology. She just told the kid “Let’s go!”. Consequently, she didn’t buy anything. Parents’ inability to discipline their kids brings out the worse in me. I don’t blame the kids, just the parent(s). I just don’t appreciate parents viewing artists as the entertainment for their kids.

There was a lady walking by my booth when her cell phone rang. She stopped and walked into my booth, plopping her large bag on a lazy susan and setting her soft drink on another one. She then rummaged around in her purse looking for her cell phone, sliding it back and forth on the lazy susan. About the time she answered the phone I walked over and tersely asked her to remove her stuff off my products. She started talking on the phone and gave me a stern look and raised her index finger telling me to hush while she was on the phone. That was like waving a red flag. I quickly picked up the bag and drink, walked outside my booth and dropped them on the pavement. She asked the caller to hold on a minute, turned to me and said “What are you doing?”. I replied, “What are you doing? Get out of my booth”.

A guy walked into my booth last month. He was about 6’4”, covered with tattoos, and wearing piecemeal military camo fatigues. He stopped in the middle and looked around at my products. I then smelled cigar smoke. Smoke from cigarettes and cigars don’t bother me because I smoke. However, I resent people coming into my booth smoking because it keeps non-smokers away and the smoke lingers. This guy had a lit cigar in his hand. I was sitting in my chair and I said “I would appreciate it if you took that cigar out of my booth”. He spun around, didn’t say a word, and glared at me as if to say “Make me”. I am 5’8”, so I don’t strike an imposing figure to someone of his size. After he stared at me for what seemed like an eternity, I told him if he didn’t understand what I said, I can have the local cops explain it to him. I then pointed to two of them standing on the sidewalk behind my booth. He immediately turned around and left.

Another guy came into my booth at a show in downtown Atlanta a few years ago, sat down in my chair, and plugged his IPod into my electrical outlet. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was going to charge his IPod. I politely asked him to leave and he commences to cuss me up and down and call me things I have never been called before. Of all my shows, this was the only one where I was getting ready for a throw down. Just as I got ready to cock my arm back and make his day, an Atlanta cop on a bicycle slowly rode by the front of my booth. His and my eyes met at the same time and he later said he could tell I was getting ready to fight. He came into the booth, and after I explained the problem, he told the guy to leave. This guy started cussing the cop, and before he could complete the sentence, the cop had him on the ground and in handcuffs. I will never do a downtown Atlanta show again. I can’t remember the last time I got mad enough to throw the first punch.

I hate baby strollers. Moms today push strollers that are about the size of a small SUV. They won’t park them at the front of my booth, but have to roll them into the booth taking up the whole middle. This blocks anyone else from being able to get into my booth. At one recent show, I had a crowd of people standing in front of my booth looking into it, but couldn’t get inside because of one of these monster strollers sitting inside. I said “You’ all be patient. You can some in as soon as this nice lady backs her SUV out of the booth”. They all laughed, but the young lady didn’t think it was funny.

I love dogs, except when they are in my booth. Many of the shows which are in neighborhoods have a large turn out of customers walking their dogs. These dogs range from little rat size to the size of a small horse. Some customers come into the booth with as many as three on a leash. Even the best behaved dogs will bump into table legs, drool on cutting boards on the bottom shelf, or even lick them on their way out of the booth.

Rude customers generally show up in force at shows. They can range from making snide comments about prices, or wasting my time telling me about how they made a cutting board in high school shop class. Social networking is a good example of this. It starts with a married couple in my booth looking serious about buying something. Then another couple comes into the booth that they know. Now they are chatting about everything except my products. Then another couple comes. The next thing you know, there are 6-8 people in the middle of my booth catching up on kids, ball games, etc. No one else can enter because all seats are taken. This also happens in front of my booth quite frequently. I have yet to figure out how to politely break up these social gatherings by people who don’t realize how rude their actions are. Most of the time I just bite my tongue and hope they will soon run out of things to talk about.

There was the show where an old hippie couple came into my booth and started making a big fuss about me using wood that came from the rain forest. I mentioned that my lumber supplier was FSC certified and I was pretty certain that they conform to it. They then demanded to see the chain of title for each product before they would purchase anything. I told them that I guess they were not buying from me, or any other woodworker at the show. I really think they were smoking dope in their VW bus before coming to the show. This whole conversation digressed into meaningless dribble that went on for a good 15 minutes. I finally got rid of them by telling them that I didn’t care if I had the last piece of exotic in the world. I was here to make money and they needed to go bother someone else. I occasionally get nuts like this that get wrapped around nothing and figure they have a captive audience to go off on. I always let them go on for a little while until my patience wears out and I’m forced to cut it off in a blunt manner.

Another form of drama is the occasional show from hell such as one I went though this past spring. I can deal with rain, but high wind is the most unnerving form of bad weather at a show. I am always wondering if the next gust is going to destroy my products, or if a neighbor’s lightweight EzUp is going to blow over on me. I set up my tent one morning in very windy conditions. I got the tent up, had 400 pounds of weights on it, and then a big gust of wind lifted it up and rolled it over on the top. I have a very heavy Trimline tent that I paid over $1000 for so I wouldn’t have this problem. But, I found out that even it has a limit. A fellow crafter ran over and helped me turn it back over and I took the legs off and put it back down on the ground. I jumped in my truck, ran down to Home Depot, bought four 24” steel rods and a sledgehammer. Once I got back, I drove the rods into the asphalt and tied off each corner before I raised it back up. It normally takes me about 20 minutes to set up my tent. It took me four hours this time. I was mentally and physically wasted by the time I got home that evening. By then end of the show, I had sold a whopping $300. Whoopee!

I have numerous drama stories. Many are humorous with some being just a little annoying. Experience has given me the ability to recognize and head off problems politely before it gets out of hand. But, occasionally something new will surprise me.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

13 comments so far

View Tadd's profile


35 posts in 2235 days

#1 posted 11-09-2010 04:27 AM


I guess it takes all types. I was collecting donations for handicap kids in front of the grocery store the other day. I actually had a lady get mad at me. I’ll bet she slaps the bell ringers at Xmas too.

Anymore, so many people are just in their own little worlds, and they worry about nothing else—or even care what is going on around them or how they are effecting others.

-- Tadd, Denver,

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 3348 days

#2 posted 11-09-2010 04:34 AM

Wow, Is all I have to say! I agree with you about parents and their kids. Actually I think its hereditary I saw the same thing happen with my kids friends the ones that had parents that would let them go crazy and in turn their kids are just as bad. But now they want to attach clinical names to bad behavior they just need to take the sugar away from the kid and smack them on the hand for touching whats not theirs. I promise they will learn.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2442 days

#3 posted 11-09-2010 04:51 AM

A few of these things have happened to me, but thankfully not the really rude ones. I have had a few of my smaller items “disappear” when a bunch of teenagers come in in a group and I can’t keep an eye on all of them. I also hate it when people use my booth as a “shortcut” to the next aisle!

Thanks for posting and keeping us updated on things that can, may and probably will happen.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View Popsnsons's profile


359 posts in 2405 days

#4 posted 11-09-2010 05:35 AM

What a variety of events…good luck, I guess it takes all kinds. Times have changed and many more are less considerate these days. I stopped holding doors open when everyone stopped saying thank you.

-- Pops ~ In So Cal...

View degoose's profile


7193 posts in 2779 days

#5 posted 11-09-2010 06:13 AM

Most interesting…

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ For lovers of all things timber...

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3552 days

#6 posted 11-09-2010 12:22 PM

Craft Show Tales of Horror! :)

Ah, the dreaded Winter Holidays shows are still ahead.
Tis the season for unruly children, rude non-buyers, tent squatters, and GORP’s (Grumpy Opinionated Retired Person).

When someone tells me in their introductory sentence that they are “retired”, I say ” I’m NOT retired! This is my business how can I help you.”

My favored way of dealing with time bandits is to politely say to them, “Pardon me, I need to get back to work.” If that doesn’t work, then I tell them to “Please move on so that I can do business!.”

Still, I love the craft show circuit and hope that I survive and make enough money so I can do it all again next year.:)

-- 温故知新

View ellen35's profile


2721 posts in 2856 days

#7 posted 11-09-2010 01:51 PM

Eeeewwww… and I have a show this weekend…
Now you have me paranoid!
The good thing about this one is that it is at a crunchy granola type farm where all the men are handsome, the women are beautiful and the kids are smart – smart enough not to antagonize the grumpy looking woodworker lady!
Your stories are funny but sad… what is the world coming to… and these “children” will be taking care of us in our old age… Eeeeewwww!

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2262 days

#8 posted 11-09-2010 02:24 PM

I guess noone ever said working with the public was gonna be easy. And now you see why I don’t teach school anymore… My classroom was always the holding pen for the jail house roster- and the administrators.. well.. :) Ellen: So- you are going to a show on a granola farm where the population is comprised only of sexy men, beautiful women and smart (assumed well behaved kids)... Ellen… wake up.. wake up… it’s time to go to work now… Ellen… Elllllennn! wake up! ;)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2347 days

#9 posted 11-09-2010 02:50 PM

As always you have given me some more incite into the A & C world. Thank you.
I made the mistake of taking a part time job after retiring to pay for my tools etc.(mommie said whatever you make you can spend) I took a job in retail and boy did I get my eyes opened. You are right about the kids. My parents today would be in jail because if I(or my sibs) acted up, we were told once after that you got whacked right in front of God and everybody.
I think it should be mandatory that everyone work retail for a year, I think attitudes would change some.
Have a great day.

-- Life is good.

View JJohnston's profile


1614 posts in 2715 days

#10 posted 11-09-2010 03:05 PM

Now try working with the public and you’re not the boss. At least you have SOME power.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3316 days

#11 posted 11-09-2010 07:36 PM

Hobomonk, I agree. Even with the occasional drama, I still enjoy doing shows. It beats sitting in an office. I am also amazed at the number of customers who assume I am retired because I do shows. It may be because I have a gray beard, but I have to explain to them that this is my full time job.

If I worked in a retail store, I would have to grin and take it. At least in my booth, I own the store and can decide whether I want to take it or not. I had a small kid come into my booth last month and spent about 15 minutes fiddling with the P.O. bank boxes. After about 5 minutes I started to become annoyed because I had to constantly watch him. However, I chose to not say anything unless he picked one up. He finally left and returned about 10 minutes later with a $100 bill and bought one. Sometimes you just have to assess the situation and not be too quick to react.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2262 days

#12 posted 11-09-2010 09:21 PM

Cool story closet guy. Those damn kids have more disposal income that the guy on social security who is selling the wares. LOL

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View WoodMosaics's profile


111 posts in 2956 days

#13 posted 11-10-2010 12:13 AM

I did shows for 15 years fulltime. I started putting out little signs. One said “Adults can touch, Children ONLY LOOK”, another said “Toys Aren’t Us”. When the kids began to spin the Lazy Susans I would tell the parents “You need to buy your kid “Hooked on Phonics” then he could maybe read the signs”. When another crafter was near, their jaw would always drop that I would have the audacity to say such a thing to the parents. I’ve had father-son teams seeing how fast they could get the Lazy Susans to spin. It gets old real fast.

-- It’s not so much what we know that causes the trouble, it’s what we know that’s not so.

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