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Church Fairs Aren’t All Sunshine And Rainbows

, , , , , , , | Working | July 10, 2020

My mother was known for the perfection and beauty of her knitted and crocheted items. She always made a couple of afghans or sweaters for the church to sell at their fairs.  

One year, a committee member approached and asked if she would make an afghan for the raffle. Mom agreed and went out to get new yarn. Those of you who knit know that yarn is not cheap and that making something beautiful and perfect takes time.

Mom created a lovely afghan: it had many rainbow squares surrounded and bordered in white. I would estimate that there was $75 worth of yarn — this was in the 1980s, so probably more today — in it, and it took her several weeks of working nights to put it together. She presented it in a nice wrap with a ribbon. All the church ladies oohed and aahed.

When I was home from my job that weekend, we went to the fair to see what was going on. We went over to the raffle table and there was… a grey and brown afghan draped over a chair and showing every dropped stitch and every oversized loop. Mom and I stared at it and then at each other.

The woman running the raffle turned to Mom and shook her head.

“I wish they had asked you to donate an afghan,” she said, “because no one wants this one.”

“I did donate an afghan,” Mom replied, and she described it in detail.

The raffle lady shook her head. “Haven’t seen it.”

Mom and I began to search the fair and finally found her afghan at the knitted items table. Or rather, behind it, hidden under several other items. The plastic wrap was removed and the ribbon was gone and it was all bunched up in a heap with a price tag of $10.  

“Oh, no,” said Mom. “That isn’t happening.”

She took the afghan and said to the knit items table lady, “I hope you don’t mind, but there is more than $75 worth of yarn in here and over a month of evenings spent working on this. This was requested for the raffle. And I found it hidden under a bunch of other items with its packaging missing.”

The table lady looked like a deer in the headlights.

“So,” continued Mom, “since you don’t think it’s worth enough to even put out on display, I will take it back and give it to someone who will enjoy it.”

“Oh, but… um—” was all the woman got out before Mom walked off with me following behind. To be honest, I had no idea what was going on because at the time, I wasn’t much of a crafter and, being a self-centered twenty-something, I was thinking, “Why is she so upset? They’re selling it, aren’t they?”

She found the person who ran the fair, told them what had happened, refused to let the item be put up for the raffle and, with the organizer’s blessing, took the afghan out to the car.

It turned out, as we learned from the organizer later, one of the ladies had snatched Mom’s afghan away and substituted the other. She was hiding it with the low price tag because, yup, she was planning on buying it herself.

When my cousin got married the next year, he and his bride received several presents from my side of the family, including a rainbow afghan bordered in soft white yarn. They still have it.

Unable To Cushion The Blow Of How The Real World Works

, , , , | Right | May 13, 2020

My village frequently holds a “buy local” fair, where I sell handmade items. I frequently give people discounts — as long as they are nice and I am still making money on the product.

Customer: “These cushions are £3 in [Big High Street Store].”

Me: “That’s nice. My versions are £10, I’m afraid.”

Customer: “Give me one for £3. That’s what [Store] sells them for.”

Me: “I am afraid I hand-make my cushions; that’s why they’re slightly more expensive.”

Customer: “You’re ripping me off! They’re only worth £3; [Store] sells them for £3!”

I want to get rid of her.

Me: “I can give you one for £8, but any less than that, I am making a loss.”

Customer: “£3.”

Me: “£8 is the lowest I can go. Any less than that and I won’t make any money.”

Customer: “BULLS***! [Store] sells exactly the same thing for less!”

Me: “That’s because their cushions are of a lower quality; plus, I am not working hard for absolutely no return for someone who has done nothing but be rude to me.”

Customer: “GET ME YOUR MANAGER NOW!”

Me: “Hi. Self -employed. I am the boss, manager, cashier, and manufacturer. If you don’t like it, piss off.”

The customer then left, screaming about how my products were rubbish and no one would ever buy them. I ended up leaving halfway through the penultimate day, because I had completely sold out.


This story was featured in our May 2020 roundup!

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It All Comes From The Great Sofa Tree

, , , | Right | December 5, 2019

(I’m helping a friend at a craft show. He’s a woodworker selling furniture pieces, so he has a large tent with a no food or drink sign outside. I see a customer walk in with a cup of lemonade that’s sweating in the heat. He starts to set it down on a table.)

Me: “Hey! Please don’t put that there!”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “You’ll leave a water ring on the tabletop, or it could spill.”

Customer: “Well, then you need to get tables that are sturdier. You know people are going to bring drinks in here to look at what you have for sale and set stuff down.”

Me: “The table is what’s for sale!”

Customer: “What?!” *looking around the booth, confused*

Me: “We are here selling handmade furniture.”

Customer: “That’s ridiculous. Everyone knows you can’t make furniture!” *goes to set his drink down again*

Me: “Sir, you need to leave. Now. Or I’m contacting security.”

(He left, puffing in indignity.)

Putting The Pain Into Campaign

, , , | Right | December 4, 2019

(I am volunteering at a booth at the local county fair. I’m running a bit late for my scheduled shift, so I’m hurrying past the various tents and stands. One that I pass belongs to one of the two main political parties. I barely even glance at the tent, since I’m more focused on getting to where I need to be. As I pass, the man running the political tent shouts:)

Campaigner: “Too scared to talk to us, huh?”

(Way to make sure I DON’T vote for your candidates, dude.)

It’s Time For Them To Back Off

, , , , | Right | November 6, 2019

(I’m part of a falconry display at a fair, holding a Yellow-Billed Kite for people to look at and hold. A woman comes over to see.)

Woman: “Ooh, he’s lovely what is he?”

Me: “He’s a Yellow-Billed kite called Asbo.”

Woman: “Is it okay to pet him?”

Me: “Yes, but only on his chest, please.”

(I demonstrate where to stroke him but the woman immediately starts to stroke his back and his wings. A friend of mine comes over.)

Me: “Please don’t stroke his back; birds spend a lot of time waterproofing their feathers, and our oily hands strip that off.”

Woman: *continues to stroke his back* “Ooh, he’s so soft.”

Me & Friend: “Please stop that now.”

Woman: *still stroking his back* “Why?”

Me: “You’re taking his waterproof layer off his feathers; he needs it.”

Woman: “Oh.”

(She was still stroking his back, so I had to physically remove her hand from the bird, to which she walked off in a strop.)