Tips for Shopping at a Craft Fair or Farmers Market

It's that time of year again! Spring is underway and more and more outdoor markets will begin opening. I rarely do shows anymore, but I remember the good 'ole days. And I've got some tips for all you shoppers: 

1. Every shopper needs a coffee in hand, and you can't be sure they'll have drinks at the show, so stop at the closest coffee shop and bring your latte with you. Once you're done with it, just leave it sitting on the table you're shopping at. Someone will come pick it up and you won't have to search for a trash can. 

2. Decide who you will call. It's best to be on a phone call while shopping so you won't be subjected to having conversations with vendors. So, figure out who you'll be talking to while you shop. Even better: use a bluetooth so you don't have to carry a clunky phone, and no one will know who you're actually talking to. 

3. Stare blankly at any vendor who has just greeted you, as if your body has been taken over by an alien. If you dare smile, they may force you to make a purchase. Smiling = loss of money. Staring blankly = better.

4. Let your kids run freely - emphasis on 'run' - throughout the show. Never mind the other shoppers; they can move out of the way. Your munchkins are cute, and free spirits that can't be tethered. 

5. Pay no attention to the word "TESTER". Anything set within the public's reach is fair game - whether it is already open or not. If they set it out, feel free to stick your finger in it. No purchase necessary. 

6. Assume that all displays are permanent & solid. If there is a glass table with porcelain figurines that appears to be sturdy, worry not! It won't go anywhere if you lean up against it to tie your shoe.

7. Don't feel embarrassed by asking each booth to hold items for you until the end of the day. You'll only have time to come back to 20% of them, but never mind the other 80 - they couldn't have possibly sold those items to other people throughout the day.

8. Closes at 3pm? That's just a suggestion. If you want to shop leisurely until 3:30 or 4:00, that's totally okay. Even if you don't buy anything.

9. Take a card from absolutely everyone. It's polite, and you can always throw it on the floor two booths down the line.  

10. And most importantly: pay no attention to any posted pricing. Hand-crafters are not 'real' business people, and likely have no clue what their actual costs are. Offer them 50% of what you're willing to pay, and when the reject you, set the item down and walk away angrily. 

There you go! You're ready for a fun day of shopping ;) 

If you've experienced any 'behaviors' that you think should be added to the list, please post them below. We all can learn from one another. =)

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