Monday, March 7, 2011

I got swindled :-(

    I did a craft show on Saturday. I saw the ad in the paper and the table was only $15 so I decided to give it a try. It was cold and rainy/sleety (is that a word?) so there were not many people shopping. It was very dead for most of the day and I thought it was going to be a bust but I ended up doing okay. I am by no means a "professional" crafter so I consider anything over a hundred dollars to be a successful show. People who truly do this for a living would probably consider that an epic failure but to me it's grocery money.
     Anyway, there was another crafter who had many of the same things that I make. I do wall hangings and fleece blankets among other things. She had a wall hanging displayed that I'd never seen before and I thought it was very pretty so I complimented her on it. We started chatting and she told me she does craft shows because her husband has stage 5 cancer and she needs something to occupy her mind and time. I told her I do them to bring in a bit of extra money so I can stay home with my son. We talked about where we buy fabric and what shows we do in the area. She came to my table and started checking out my things. She complimented me on my fleece blankets and asked if I would give her a deal if she bought three of them. I sell them for $10 each and she asked if I would take $25 for three of them. I hesitated because I do not have much of a profit margin on my crafts. I know money is tight for everyone and I'm not looking to get rich. I knew that price would not give me more than a dollar or two above my cost but I told her yes. She bought two angel blankets and a wolf one. Then she asked if I had any more wolf blankets because her family loves wolves. I had 3 more and she bought them all, for the same deal. I started to have the feeling she was going to resell them but I thought that would just be too "low" of her. Besides, she had made a point to say that her family loves wolves, as if they would be gifts. She then returned to her table.
     I continued to stew over it and went back to her table to try and see if I could confirm her intention for the blankets. Well, she flat out admitted to me that she planned to resell them! She said she was going to double them up and fringe the edges and sell them for $25. I told her I would have never given her a deal on them if I'd known her intentions and she had deceived me into thinking they were for her family. She asked me what I had paid and practically laughed when she realized I'd made almost nothing on them. By this point I was fuming but it wasn't worth making a scene and there was nothing I could do anyway, since I'd agreed to the deal. I am simply too "nice" and trusting but things like this are making me more aware of how awful some people can truly be.
     To add insult to injury, she came to my table once again to try and defend herself, saying she would never simply resell them; she was going to modify them, as if that made it better. She said "I'm not what you think I am" and I was thinking "lady, you don't want to hear what I think of you." AND she actually had the nerve to ask me if I had any other fabric that I "didn't feel like" sewing! It took every ounce of my strength not to tell her off. Then she started looking at my other things, and I could just tell that she was mentally dissecting them to copy them too. She had bought an item from the 78 year old woman next to me and outright told her too that she was going to duplicate it! She explained that it was okay because they "didn't live in the same town." When we were packing up to leave she came back to my table again and asked for one of my business cards. I don't know why she wanted it, but if she were to contact me I'm not sure I could hold my tongue.
     I do not consider myself to be anything above an "average" crafter and I don't mean this to brag but her stuff was very poorly made. Her seams are even more crooked than mine (that's saying something lol) and you can just tell that she does the minimum effort on her work. I realized later that I have seen her at other shows and been less than impressed by her work plus she charges way more than I do for the exact same pieces. She made several comments about my prices, as if I had nerve to sell my work so low. As I said, I am just looking to bring in a little bit of money to help my family. I expect to run into her at shows in the future, as I have seen her at the one I have coming up next month. I know it will pain me to see "my" blankets for sale at her booth and it will take a huge amount of effort to remain civil. I just don't understand how some people can be so greedy. R said he hopes that he gets a chance to come across her; he is the type that would make a scene to "defend my honor." Unfortunately it just wouldn't get through to someone like her.
     The irony of this is that she told me that she has her crafts in the store downtown that I was going to put mine into but changed my mind. I have my crafts in a store where I work one day a week for my space but this new store doesn't have that option. I agreed to pay for my space and my mom rented a space (bigger than mine of course!) for her crafts too. I got an uneasy feeling about the dynamic between the owners and the type of things they were putting in the store plus they hadn't mentioned the security deposit until later and I told them I wouldn't be taking the space. I told them I couldn't afford to pay the rent and they offered to waive the security deposit but I said we just couldn't swing it right now, perhaps in a month or two. I didn't want to close the door completely on renting from them in the future if the store does well.  Well, with this "lady" in there I will not be bringing my things there. After I told my mom the story she got paranoid about this woman stealing her things. I told her as far as I knew the woman wasn't a thief, just a copycat. Of course my mom said "well, she can't duplicate MY stuff." That's right mom, nobody can do what you do. Sigh. I think I just lost another bit of my trusting nature this weekend. I'm trying not to become jaded but between the issues with my mom and crafts and now this I'm beginning to feel like maybe I shouldn't be doing this. But I can't stop because we just bought a bunch of fabric and we really need the money. Big sigh.


Noelle said...

That just makes me ill. I'm so angry for you. What nerve! Stay away from that woman! Oh, but please don't let it stop you from crafting and if she just happens to be at the same fair, then set up your table, be proud, and lift your nose up in the air at her. You are better than she is and she knows it.

Angela said...

Thanks Noelle, I'm trying to let it go. I appreciate the support!