The alarm goes off at 5:30AM on every Saturday at least eight months of the year. You stumble out of your beds and go in search of your caffeinated beverage of choice, gulping down as the sun begins to rise. Thus fortified, you lumber off to shower and dress and if there’s time, grab a quick bite. The vehicle gets loaded full of equipment – tents, chairs, tables, boxes, and various other necessities. You hit the road while most people are still comfortably tucked into their beds, driving whatever distance is required to get you where you need to be.
You arrive at least an hour or two before the sale starts. The car spills out its contents onto the parking lot pavement. You become sherpas as you haul gear and product from cars to assigned spaces, dodging obstacles and other vendors while trying to carry unwieldy items that weigh often weigh more than the average 8 year old. Occasionally toes get stubbed and shins bruised in valiant attempts to keep from dropping irreplaceable products and expensive equipment.
Blurry-eyed and still yawning, you begin set up. With any luck, the tent will go up without a hitch or the need for assistance from the hapless passers-by. The tables get set up, legs shimmied to compensate for uneven ground. Table coverings follow and get a quick brush down. Then out goes the product… oh the precious product that you’ve poured your hearts and souls into, the whole reason why you get out of bed before the sun rises on weekends. You add bits of embelishment to make things more attractive and place a tidy stack of business cards beside your product. Then there is a brief moment of calm silence before the real work begins, when you smile and say hello to our first customers of the day.
For all my fellow vendors who know this story by heart, I salute you and the hard work that you do to share what you love. Your love of your craft and willingness to do whatever it takes to share it inspires me to be out there with you on all those Saturday mornings.