sales were okay.
but only okay.
I’d had grand dreams for the weekend. Last year this show was rained out, and I was so sure that everyone would use their beautiful Saturday at the Concord Home and Garden Show at the Sleeptrain* Pavilion. Even though it’s in the middle of fucking nowhere.
Everyone was at Home Depot buying plants for their garden, said the Touch of Orange lady. According to the natural material outlet plates guy they all had soccer games and Little League or whatever. Everyone’s so full of excuses.
My energy level was low, and the crowds were just not there. Both Friday and Saturday I did about as well as last year. Okay. But not great.
When you make $6 a set, you gotta sell a lot of sponges to rake it in. We have a trip to Paris to pay for. I was anxious as I left the show Saturday and I cursed the poor marketing–if you could even call it that!–of stupid Sleeptrain Pavilion.
Then the Universe delivered what I became sure was the secret to a successful Home Show:
The “Thin Air Approach”(TAA)
as recommended by Sharon, Silk Blanket Sales Rep, former pitchwoman
When the crowd is sparse–or whenever you don’t have an audience–do your demo anyway. Pretend like someone you know is right in front of you and you’re talking to them. Keep doing it. People will see what you’re doing, and they’ll come over to check it out. You won’t believe the wads you can pull in!!
“But.. I have dignity!” I proclaimed. But then I remembered… I sell sponges.
“So…10:01 tomorrow, I just start demoing?!!” Yes. “No matter if no one’s around at all?!” Yes.
I let it sink in. I asked Claire and Alex. Claire said that she’d come over to see what the crazy woman was talking about. That was pretty convincing. I consider Claire to be an excellent representative of America.
So I did. I swallowed my hangover. And my headache. But not till 11:01. After another pep talk from Sharon.
I started. “Feel the Super Sponge, I’ll show you how it works.”
No one budged. They kinda looked at me, but that was it.
“Do you ever notice that nasty odors these things get?” pause. “They’re a haven for germs and bacteria. The Super Sponge never gets a nasty odor and it’s because it dries rock hard….” and on and on and on… I’d get to the end of the carpet part, and I’d begin again.
For awhile I imagined Alex there. But not too realistically, or it would have made me laugh. After a minute I realized that I was staring right into the eyes of a brushed metal bust of a horse. It was kinda pretty I guess.
So I demoed to the horse. I pictured the horse’s look of disgust when visualizing all the germs and bacteria in his sponge at home. I asked him if accidents like that ever happened at his house. They do. But he lives in a barn. He doesn’t really mind.
I wondered if I was dreaming. The horse said no.
People were confused. They stared. I looked them in the eye, then back to the horse.
As one couple purchased their sponges, the husband remarked, “I thought you were a robot.”
A dude walking by asked his companion, “Is she for real?”
Some didn’t know how to react. They’d turn around nervously, wondering if I was trying to sucker them in. I’d glance in their eyes, and then around, both letting them know I was watching and letting them off the hook.
I was detached. It was nice. Most of the time I’m demoing, I do feel like a robot. Get up all the enthusiasm you can muster, Susie. Smile big. Laugh loudly about how it’s soooooo gross to pour that soda back in the glass and give it to the kids. …just get their money.
It worked for awhile. I sold some sponges. A couple of mops. Then it got busy, and I didn’t have to employ my new found secret for awhile.
After the two o’clock rush died down, though, my energy was down. Kombucha hadn’t worked. Neither had Emergen-C. Two of em, even.
I broke out the coffee. But never managed to feel energetic enough to break out the TAA. So much talking!! And my shoulder aches so bad. You have no idea.
A long story shorter: I got some of their money. I had one great turn where I couldn’t get the sets packed or take their credit cards fast enough. I must have turned over eight sets of sponges and four mops right then. What a feeling!! These are the glory days.
The horse sold for 300 big ones to a nice lady in a sun hat and a big bag that I knew contained a set of Super Sponges.
You know, there’s no way know how effective the TAA was. But I tell you. Way to give my weekend a twist. And me something to do. For this, the hopefully last day of 2007 that I will ever sell Super Sponges. Direct. At a fair or home show. I hope.
*JR: “honk, honk!”