Well that’s another craft market done and dusted. Business was slow – all the stallholders agreed. A fair few people wandered into the town hall and did the circuit, but most appeared to be either exercising their dogs (yes, really) or deliberately aimed their line of vision just above the height of displays and sellers as they walked very briskly and left with wallets intact.
Ah well, we’re used to days like that. Cost of living rises and all that. We roll with it.
Fortunately we did shift plenty of the badges and knitted nightingales Mrs S was selling for Ukrainian refugees and – let’s face it – their need is far greater than ours.
Of course there are customers who take an interest and engage. Most are charming, mildly apologetic that they won’t be buying, but enjoy looking closely at the wares and asking questions. The smiles on the faces of small children allowed to turn the handles of the wobbly mechanical things and make the birds, balloons etc twirl around made up for the lack of takings. Then there was the gent who was walking past and did a double take, recognising Mrs S from quite different circumstances. Having greeted her, he stopped to take in the the stall’s contents. His eyes moved slowly along the six foot table, then he stopped and stared at Mrs S.
“You made these?” he asked incredulously. “What, ALL of them?” when she had smiled and nodded.
He paused for a long while, shaking his head as he clearly made far reaching adjustments to his opinion of our stallholder.
So yes, customers like that are just fine. We are not expecting everyone to buy and bear them no malice if they don’t, but there are a few who needlessly raise the hackles of those trying to sell their wares.
- Don’t bring your dog to an indoor market if it is likely to forage around the displays, scent mark the table corners or yap continuously.
- Don’t look pointedly at a stall and say, “Did you make all this? Yes? Hmm, well done.” in the patronising tones of a schoolmistress from the 1950s.
- Don’t allow your child to finger anything unless the stallholder specifically invites them to do so.
- Don’t tell the stallholders they should have made particular items into earrings/brooches/tea cosies if they expected you to consider buying. (These people always smile graciously when politely thanked for their opinion and walk away convinced that they have done a great service.)
- Finally, and above all, don’t smile at the female stallholder selling items created with wood, metal and resin and ask if her hubby made them. We quail when Mrs S replies icily that she does not have a ‘hubby’ and if she did, she wouldn’t let him anywhere near her workshop!