Drama at the craft show

This past weekend, Brad and I participated in a consignment craft show. We paid a small registration fee, and anything sold, a fair commission would be paid to the people running the show. In theory, this is a fantastic idea. Crafters don't have to front a large table fee, and they don't have to spend their entire day watching their booths.

Logistically, however, the people running the show messed up. I feel bad, because I really like them. They are nice ladies, who were VERY on top of advertising and pre-event coordination. However, when it came down to coordinating the event itself, there were (and remain to be) significant, catastrophic, issues.

Some of which, are not their fault. Command hooks purchased to hang artwork failed, and two paintings (thankfully those of one of the people running the show) crashed to the ground. These hooks should have held much more weight than the weight of these paintings. The adhesive stuck - the plastic hooks snapped.

But there are big problems that could have been avoided. Currently, I'm watching emails fly back and forth from SEVERAL vendors who have hundreds of dollars of inventory missing. Meaning, someone took their stuff home. We all filled out an inventory sheet when dropping off our items. Someone should have (and maybe they did) checked off every single item on the inventory sheets as items were dropped off, regardless of how long this took.

Checkout should have been at the door of the event, to help thwart off any customers who tried to steal merchandise. Instead, the checkout was at the very back - with no one watching the door. Inventory from all vendors (125 of them) was mixed all over the event, all together, on various tables. Making pickup a nightmare. Some vendors didn't have all their stock put out, while others had ALL their stock put out, because volunteers doing the setups didn't space things properly.

Brad was present at pickup. From what he said - it was nuts. People running around everywhere, picking up their stuff, piling up people's stuff together. No way to know who was taking what home. Other artists, even customers that were still shopping, could have easily taken people's inventory.

One woman is missing her ENTIRE stock of inventory. How does this happen? I mean, I know that people steal stuff. What I can't wrap my head around, is why an artist would knowingly take something from another artist? We all know how much work goes into our products. To take stuff that belongs to another artist...it's so wrong. One artist to another, you should have a level of respect for their time and hard work. And, with 24 hours+ since the event, anyone who "accidentally" took home someone else's stuff should have found that out by now and contacted the operators of the show. Brad carefully made sure only OUR stuff went into our bins. He even called me on the phone and walked me through what he was picking up. He counted the number of items. Every single artist, no matter how large their inventory was, should have done the same damn thing.

To make a consignment show work - at drop off, every single item should be checked off, and everything should be locked up. Artisans should have all their items in one location. Checkout belongs at the door - and as sales slips are written up, someone should be taking each item down into a computer so that a printout or total of items sold can be given to the artisans right away upon pickup. This is not hard. No descriptions even needed - a simple marking down of the items numbers sold by artist would suffice. And then pickup shouldn't be rushed. Take a day or two, sort everything, and account for everything.

One woman wrote back on the chain of emails suggesting we all "chip in" and cover the costs of the missing items. With all due respect to what was a nice thought, we're talking possibly thousands of dollars here, and some artists didn't sell much, some didn't sell anything. Asking these artists who checked that they have the right stuff coming home and volunteered their time at the show to cover the costs of stolen items is inappropriate. If anyone should cover the costs of stolen items, it is the persons running the show - it is due to poor organization that these items are now missing.

We did sign contracts, but I cannot recall if there was a note in it about who would be responsible, if anyone, for stolen items. I remember a section about the commission and about any items not picked up being donated to charity, but not about responsibility. If there's nothing written in there, I wonder if the artists with items stolen could take the show organizers to small claims court (assuming they didn't offer to cover the costs).

It's very, very sad, what's going on right now. As it is, I have 10 (well, 9, since I know one sold while I was working the show) items unaccounted for. Hopefully, they all will be listed as sales when they finish marking everything up. Thankfully, nothing of mine is significant value, unlike my jewelry items, so I would not really bother worrying about it. But I'm getting upset for the people who did have significant items taken. It's awful.

1 comment:

  1. That's so incredibly frustrating! I feel bad for the people who have lost so much of their inventory, but it's absolutely not something that YOU (or any of the other sellers) should be responsible for. I hope the organizers pitch in the money, instead.