Wednesday, 7 March 2012
It's a tough market
This time it was a flyer for a tots table top sale. On pretty pink paper, purple writing encouraged me to ‘Have that clear out’. ‘make some money’. ‘It’s for charity’ ‘local’ ‘there will be cake’.
It lured me in. As I put that flyer in my pocket, yet again I felt clever, observant, already very organised, frugal and waste-not-like.
Once more, I confidently sent an email round my friends, this time telling them that I was planning to hire a table at said event, should any of them wish to join me.
Thank fully, soooooo thank fully, I realise now, a friend did decide to join me.
I booked the table online and then, the day before the sale, I tackled the black hole that is our junk/storage room.
I can’t say it was a happy day for me. I ended up with chronic back ache from all the sorting and ironing and not nearly enough of the mountain climbed.
Never mind, I thought, when I woke up the following day. Now for the fun part. Yes, I could see myself getting into this. I suspected I was about to discover my inner businesswoman. In just a few hours, my stall would be sold out and I’d be brandishing a fan of tenners in my husband’s face.
The event was at a nearby secondary school, which happened to be the one my friend and fellow stall-holder used to attend.
It did not bring back happy memories and neither did it create any.
As we set up, we shot glances at the far more professional-looking stalls either side of us.
When the browsers started to filter past, they weren’t all that impressed. If we thought sorting through the clothes and toys worn and loved by our little angels was depressing, it was a teddy-bear’s-picnic compared seeing them rejected and overlooked.
Where were all the bundled up newborn babies with tired but happy parents, eager to snap up our tasteful wares?
And then they started circling. They had the grimmest poker faces you have ever seen. You know Big Mo from Eastenders? They were JUST like her, only not as friendly. These ladies were on the look-out for stock for their market stalls. One of them asked how much we wanted for baby-grows. Only she asked it in the same way might imagine someone would deal drugs, with no eye-contact and a voice like Clint Eastwood. When my friend’s lovely high, clear voice came back with 50p each, she gave an affected shrug designed to undermine us. I just looked on, mute.
Another of these women said she’d ‘see how we got on and come back’, which sounded mysteriously menacing.
Towards the end of the sale, one of them homed in on the lady opposite us, and offered to take the whole lot for £75.
My friend whispered: “We’re not giving it to them”. And I agreed. We protectively bundled the stuff back up pronto and retreated, having just about broken even.
I told you this was not a happy tale. But I have learnt my lesson. I’m off to nursery pick-up now, and as I enter the cloakroom I will be focused, eyes ahead. I will not so much as glance at the pictures of last year’s park trip, lest it leads me down another path of woe.