OK so you've probably gathered from the title of this article that I'm not a happy bunny. Let me share with you my experience of the worst market I have had the misfortune to attend as a seller. I use the term 'seller' loosely as nothing was sold by me.
I was led to believe by the organiser that this particular Easter market would have a good footfall if their Christmas event was anything to go by. The price for a table appeared to be reasonable but I needed Public Liability Insurance which I did not have but would require for future events this year, and so I found a very reasonable rate of £30 per year with AIR. As this event from hell began at 3.30 and didn't end until mid evening, I had to prepare some nourishing and warming food for myself and my child to consume at the event. I also had to rush to pick up my child from school, feed and water her before dashing to the event only to find that it consisted of 11 tables, all crammed together with no spaces in between, under a drab looking piece of tarpaulin on a stretch of waste land close to a derilect cinema and a handful of shops. As both tables on either side of me were already set up, these sellers had selflessly taken it upon themselves to spread their wares over part of my table and were in no hurry to move them away on my arrival. Now I'm a great believer in listening to my gut reactions and instinct told me to get the hell out of Dodge and do it fast, but my practical side told me that having forked out a shed load of hard earned money I should at least give it a chance. Things might not be as bad as they looked, I told myself optimistically. Having set up my table with my handmade jewellery I cast an eye around the other tables, counting 4 other jewellery stalls - 5 out of 11 tables all selling the same products. As I commented politely about this to the organiser she glibbly explained that each table contained a very different type of jewellery. Surely this woman could have found herself a more varied selection of sellers. Home grown produce, other handmade crafts? Even bought in handbags from China would not have gone amiss here!
Have I mentioned the fairy cakes? So, who was I next to but the fairy cake table and those few people who passed through the grubby tarpaulin area seemed eager to fill their children with little cakes at £1.40 a pop, so much so that they and their offspring formed a dense queue in front of my table for 45 minutes, most of them leaning on my goods and dropping cake crumbs on my items. After a long, tedious hour I was ready to wrap the magician's poodle shaped balloons around his over-jolly ears, and as he approached me with an insane expression of gleeful fake jolliness on his otherwise miserable face, a pack of playing cards stretched out towards me, I decided that for his own good it was best for me to venture home before I did anything that may make headline news in the local paper, the rush hour traffic looming large on the busy road nearby. Needless to say, as soon as I return home I emailed the organiser to express my doubts as to the safety aspect of cramming tables together, my inability to even get behind my table unless I was prepared to pole vault over or limbo under the stall with a broken vertebra and politely demanded a refund.
Lessons are to be learnt here from my mistake. Always ask the organiser of an event how many makers of a similar product will also be attending, check how big or small the event will be, and if in doubt don't hand over your money. I'm sticking to the tried and tested events that were a success in 2009 from now on. What else could possibly go wrong!
I have a stall at the Big Green Festival at St. Clements Church, Edge Lane, Chorlton tomorrow and this has a footfall of over 4,000 people, and they've put me next to the beer tent! This has to be the prime spot so it's not all bad. If you are in the area come along for a family outing and enjoy the bands, craft workshops, food stalls and real ale.