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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Evacuation & Shoppers

I’m (was) writing this blog as a draft on my laptop because I have no Internet service.  There is no electricity, so I have taken a solar light from my garden and it’s lying on my desk.  My windows are open to allow the cool mountain air to make me comfortable, since there is no air conditioning.  My dinner was crackers and peanut butter.   I think I hear someone saying ‘Good night John Boy’. (A few days later, when TV was available I learned this was from a huge and fierce storm that effected OH, WV, PA, MD and VA.)

Today was a day for my memory book.  My tent and I were at the Elkins Antique Car Show.  At noon, the Fire Marshall announced on his bull horn, that everyone needed to evacuate the park.  It’s interesting how my mind reacted to that statement.  It was as if I were dreaming.  I spoke with my friends in nearby tents and asked ‘Did he just say we are to evacuate?   They were as stunned as me.  For a few seconds we all just stood there trying to assimilate what was going on.  Those few seconds (maybe 5 at most) seemed long and dream like.  Finally, my brain accepted it and I finally said ‘why?’, since I had only heard part of the announcement.  The answers varied, but the bottom line was the region had been hard hit by a storm the night before, with winds up to 85 mph.  The winds knocked down trees taking out the electricity.  As a result, the town of Elkins was running out of water because there was no power to purify it.  So the Major made a decision to get people back to their homes.  (I learned later that with the shortage of water, they wanted to avoid an accidental fire in the area.)  Also, the gas pumps are run on electricity.  All of this just paralyzed most of the State of West Virginia.  I’m writing this here in my jewelry blog to let those who haven’t done an outdoor event to be prepared for ‘anything’.

So we packed up our tents, grabbed some food from the vendors and skedaddled home.

Before we were forced to close up shop I overheard some new and interesting comments from the shoppers.  I’ve learned some lessons and thought I’d share.
1)      A shopper said to me while looking at my dragonfly pendant: “Do you have another one of these?” I thought she wanted to compare their look before making a purchase.  So honest me said “Yes, I have one more.  She then turned and walked away.  Lesson – I think she wanted a one of a kind piece and since I had another pendant she wasn’t interested.  In the future I will say “This is the only one like this.”  Not really a lie since each is a bit different.  Secretly, I thought ‘Really!? One of a kind at this price!  But, people are people.  Some are delightful, some are stressful.

2)      Another shopper looked at the $38 price sticker on one of my detailed wire pendants.  With a distorted look on her face and an attitude and tone to her voice, she said to her friend “$38! I can get that at Walmart!  Secretly, I wanted to say “Oh, you want the flea market down at Crystal Springs!”, but, stopped myself and told myself that ‘She’s not my target customer base and it’s good that she moved away from my tent.  I found out later from my friend Jen who makes incredible Lampwork beads that she said the same thing about a pair of her earrings.

3)   A shopper was in love with my new sun catchers.  I couldn’t run her credit card, since there was no internet connection, so she said she would go get cash and be right back.  She never returned.  This was an unavoidable situation, but the lesson is to do everything you can to get them to commit to the sale, because they won’t return, for whatever their reason.  Next time I’ll be prepared with “I can take your check!”

One final observation that I think really effected my sales.  The weather was HOT and HUMID!  I really think this has a huge impact on shoppers moods and actions.  I had a lot of people look, touch and have positive comments about my gemstone pendants.  They typically sell quickly for me.  But, not one was sold.  Either the weather or the circumstances from the recent storm, something was bugging my customers.

The power has been restored to my area and I'm back in my air condioning...la la la la la.
Have a creative, joyfilled and cool day.
Thank you for stopping by, Linda

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Thank you for your kind words. I'll answer any of your questions very soon. Linda