WARNING: This post is for the amusement of my fellow art fair exhibitors. If you are a patron, don’t read this. And if you DO read this, remember—I’m not talking about you. You’re perfect.
(1) The weather will always be perfect the day after the show.
(2) No one who enters your booth carrying a sponsor’s giveaway bag full of free stuff will ever buy anything from you.
(3) The more lavishly people praise your work, the less likely they are to buy from you. The praise is your payment.* And that’s OK.
(4) People who enter your booth while you are frantically trying to set up or pack up will also never buy anything from you. They are there to get in the way, and subtle hints are wasted on them.
(5) If you bring two similar items to a show—say, two monkey robots or two robots with refrigerators for bodies–neither one will sell.
(6) After spending a great deal of time in your booth, polite people will do one of three things. They will tell you that they will be back soon. They will ask for a business card (AKA, the “get out of jail free card”), implying that they will most likely make a purchase in the future. Or they will ask for something that you do not have, like a vampire zombie ninja robot, implying that if only you had had that item they would have bought it.
(7) People who stand in front of–or in–your booth while holding a stroller out at arm’s length, effectively blocking anyone else from entering and exiting, while talking on their cell phone in a loud voice… not only will they not buy anything, but they will give you dirty looks if you suggest they move.
(8) Patrons come to an art festival to look, not to read. So if you put up a sign stating, for example, that all items on this shelf are $160 and that they all open up to reveal a heart inside, that sign might as well be invisible, and you will be asked repeatedly how much they are and do they ALL have a heart inside?
I was hoping to make it an even 10. Any suggestions? I’ll update this list if you or I can think of any more. But for now, I’m going to make a vampire zombie ninja robot.
*I read about an artist who tried a psychological experiment with his patrons. Rather than saying “thank you” to people who praised his work, thus accepting their “payment”, he continued to talk about his work instead. The compliments got bigger and more grandiose, but still he would not say “thanks”. Finally, when it became evident that he was either in danger of being nominated for sainthood, or that they would never leave, he gave in. They fled.
Update: I knew you guys would come through for me! We now have an even 10 Commandments. Thanks to Barbara Johansen Newman and Phil Crone for rules #9 and 10, respectively:
(9) No matter how many thousands of times a day people ask you the same question (Where do you find all your parts? How long does it take you to make these? Where do you get your ideas?), you must remember that it is the first time they’ve asked that question, and answer with sincerity and enthusiasm.
(10) The command “Don’t touch!” issued by a parent to a child entering your booth seemingly absolves the parent from any responsibility to actually prevent the child from touching all your stuff.