Rested and refreshed the wife and I headed back to the Art and Antique sale with renewed vigor. One day of slow (actually nonexistent) sales wouldn’t deter us from putting a fine box in the hands of every American.
When we pulled our trusty Ford F-150 into the venue there were plenty of parking spaces. Hmmm…. we arrived at the same time as yesterday and had to squeeze into a spot then. Is this an omen that the crowds on Saturday were much larger than we’d find today?
The tent was as we had left it. We didn’t have any of those fancy side panels that real weekend warriors have, so we had covered our boxes with tarps. It looked a little pitiful and definitely vulnerable sitting there all exposed. But, to our relief no one had tried to sneak in to steal any of our boxes. Was that a bad sign? Even the thieves in this town don’t want our boxes?
Boxes uncovered, Here came the chief. Boxguy arrived. Alone this morning, his entourage would come later. Upon entering the tent, he uncovered his lovely mountain of cherry, walnut, and woods that only he can identify. We were ready for action. Then he had a great idea.
Since the people that had reserved a booth next to ours hadn’t shown up, why not slide one of our collections onto that spot, enabling us to put our wares right out in front of the crowds? He moved his table over and placed it parallel to the path of the crowd, just a foot or two off of the firing line. I did the same, and now all festival goers would pass by all of our boxes without coming into the tent! Fantastic idea. That’s why he’s the guru.
It was just a minute or so until the gates would open and the surge would begin. Boxguy was out in the aisle and I pulled him back, remembering how crowds press forward uncontrollably at rock concerts…... five, four three, two, one…. and nothing. No one. Nada. A few minutes later a guy wobbled by. He glanced over, but didn’t stop. Then a few more. Then Boxguy snagged one and began his box building tutorial. Maybe things were looking up. He didn’t sell to the guy, but at least things were starting to happen. It was just after 10AM, churches were still in session around southern Indiana. As soon as the responsible church-goers finished their services and had gone out for brunch I was sure we’d get some action.
Yep. They started coming by. And, they stopped! “Wonderful boxes,” “Fantastic,” “Love them!” Superlatives came in buy the dozens. No credit cards or wads of cash emerged. Boxguy kept on teaching though, undetered by the lack of sales. Four year old kids wandered by and I’d hear, “Want to learn how to make a box?” and Boxguy would have another interested pupil. Once a teacher…
Finally he broke the ice, in fact for the day I think he broke it twice. I’m not sure if he sold one box or two, but he may have sold two. A couple of his church friends came by and he worked his magic. He really doesn’t have to try too hard, because he has a loyal following of Boxguy Box collectors. There are lots of folks that buy his boxes all year long. The test was, how many strangers would buy our boxes?
Well, I didn’t sit down more than five minutes at a time all day. Never even got time to walk around. Still though, as much as everyone loved my boxes, they kept leaving me with compliments but no cash. One lady with absolutely no front teeth loved the boxes, and sang me a song. She said she’d written it and if I promised not to steal it, she’d perform it for me. I didn’t know if I could promise that or not, but she sang it anyway and it was unusual to say the least. “It’s all in the Jeans” probably won’t hit the charts.
At about two o’clock a vendor from nearby came over and crouched down by one of my boxes. “I like this one, she said,” And you have a Father’s Day discount? I told her yes! And a final day of the show discount and a fellow vendor discount. I had to get on the board. Who wants to be the only guy on the fishing trip to not catch a fish? Anyway, by the time all the discounts were applied I had to pay her $25 to take the box.
Just kidding about that, she paid and now it was tied… one to one to one. The pressure was off. I wasn’t going to be skunked. I could reimburse my woodworking fund for the shelving paints, price stickers, Goodwill blankets I bought to cut up and protect my babies in transport and more, still having enough money to eat a couple of steak dinners. All was well. The day ended without event. No more sales, no more notable visitors (except the toothless singer came back for one more verse) and the time slowly ticked to the 4 PM closing time.
So, it all ended well. No runaway victories, no pathetic losers. No one dissed our handiwork, and no one was injured. I suspect Boxguy’s wife spent most of his profits on purses, but we all left happy. With what our lovely brides go through they deserve that and more.
So that’s our first sale saga. Not War and Peace, but for a blog it’s pretty close. We had a good time, and found out a lot of things about not selling boxes. There will probably be a next time for Boxguy, he thrives on such situations, but I simply endure them. It was fun, and the fellowship was great. Boxguy and company were great partners. He suggested giving it a week or two and deciding about future endeavors. Good idea. I may jump back in. Right now though it seems like a lot of work without any guarantee of success.
I slept in today. I was tired and my feet hurt. Although when it is going on I wasn’t sure, after it was over I am glad we did it. Thanks to Boxguy for the idea and the companionship.
Now I know what they mean by fold up your tent and go home.
-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana