Saturday, April 25, 2009

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Does it seem like stupidity is taking over the planet to you?

Everywhere I turn, there's someone doing something really dumb--and usually getting away with it which makes it all the more infuriating.

While I'm generally a pretty laid back guy, some things really bug me (in case you haven't noticed from other posts).

For example, about a year ago, a post office in my area changed the flow of traffic in its parking lot by designating one entrance and one exit instead of the free-for-all that it had been.

Now there are HUGE signs that read "EXIT ONLY" on the way into the exit so that cars won't try to come in that way. It's been a year, but people still refuse to read the signs and try to come in against the flow of traffic.

Everyone is then expected to get the hell out of their way so they can steal the parking spot you were waiting for, by the way.

If you try to warn them with a polite toot (which only makes them more stubborn) or gently point out (with your middle finger) the huge signs they're not reading or just flat out refuse to be complicit in their stupidity by moving over and letting them terrorize the rest of the motorists, they look at you like YOU are doing something wrong.

Worse, my partner told me, "Move over so she can get in".

"ABSOLUTELY NOT" I then explained to him that I was not on her side, she was going the wrong way. Both cars sat their facing each other for a few minutes (nobody was behind me, thank goodness) while we waited for a lightbulb to go on. Whether she got it or not, eventually, the other motorist did have to back out and go in the correct way.

Score 1 for society and following the rules! Hopefully she learned the correct way to enter the parking lot from then on.

Then there are those who do something stupid and then want to blame everyone else for it. You've met these people, I'm sure. They're practically entitled to do anything they want and never suffer any consequences (or at least don't think that they should have any consequences).

Just yesterday, a couple friends and I went over to Woodfield Mall at lunch time for a quick stroll through the shops. I parked quickly and we were off toward the mall.

On the other side of the car that I'd parked next to was a woman complaining about the same car.

"I should let all of the air out of his tires" I heard her exclaim as we walked up. "I cannot get my door open to get into the car. They parked too close!"

Notice she said "THEY" parked too close. In actuality, SHE had parked her car right on the line, had rather large doors that needed a lot of room to open and an even larger ass that needed more room yet.

The car, presumably, came in after she'd left her car and parked normally in its parking space. However, now that her poor parking job was inconveniencing her, she felt it was within her rights to flatten their tires and rant about it to strangers walking by.

I quickly looked at the situation and determined she was a victim of her own stupidity. My friends, however, were more easily suckered into helping.

After a few minutes, they'd managed rearrange the seats in her car and wedge her (all of her) into the back seat of the car so she could hopefully maneuver the state of Ohio into the front seat and drive off.

I'm sure she was swearing about that "other driver" the entire time and never realized she was the one in the wrong.

Oh well, I guess you can't win them all.

Have you made a stand against stupidity lately? Tell me about it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Swim In The 'Bay

If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that last week I dipped my toes back into the eBay pool to test the waters.  I’d been on eBay quite a bit earlier in my lampworking career, but didn’t find the success I’d originally been hoping for with some of my earlier designs and pieces.

With the advent of my new “male” pendants, I thought I’d give this a try again to see how they would be received.  Since they’ve been pretty popular on Etsy, it was time to give “The Bay” another shot.Joseph Penis Pendant

Last night, the auction for “Joseph” completed with six bids and multiple bidders.  To say that I was pleased in the response would be an understatement.  While I doubt that I’ll be using it as often as I used to for sales, it would appear that there is a market that I can tap into there too.

Any source of new customers is good, right?

Of course it is!  This morning I found a very nice letter from my buyer who is very excited and happy that he won.  The e-mail also included this wonderful bit of encouragement:

“If this beautiful multi-colored penis was created on a whim, I encourage you to make more!  The others who bid against me would certainly appreciate being able to have one of their own!  What a splendid way to celebrate the beauty of the male member!”

I took a chance last week and struck out to expose my work to a new audience and gained a brand new customer with the potential for a few more in the wings.  If I hadn’t tried it, I might never have found them.

I guess the moral of the story is to get out of your marketing rut and try something new.  For the cost of a few bucks, I was rewarded with a wonderful new customer and some new ideas on how to make my shop work for me!

Remember, try new venues (or older ones that didn’t work in the past), new mediums and anything you can think of to bring in those customers!

Needless to say, there are more penis pendants coming and this won’t be the last auction on eBay!

Now to figure out how to skinny down the cost of the listing fees and still get noticed! 

More on that later!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Stress is in the air!

Well, now that Winter is just about over, a whole new season can begin. For most people, that season is Spring and it is welcomed by all.

For artists who are busily trying to get applications into art fairs, festivals, craft fairs and other seasonal venues, you have now entered the season of Stress!

It's the time of year when you get to send a bunch of faceless, nameless folk pictures of your work, what you feel about your work and a non-refundable check for jurying fees, which basically means we're paying them for the privilege of rejection.

Who comes up with these applications for these shows, anyway?

After filling in our names, addresses, websites, astrological sign, favorite food and estimated weight at the time of the show, the really fun questions begin.

Please describe your work, the process or processes involved, materials and inspirations in 50 words or less.

Are you kidding me? Oh, after this question there will be a very small (SMALL!) box to fill in with our stunning insights and pearls of wisdom--or at least what we can fit in 50 words.

The question practically takes up more words than we're allowed answer it with.

Please categorize your work (one choice only): Art, Glass, Jewelry, Ceramics, Woodcraft, or Other.

This is a trick question, right? I can just about hear the carnival barker now, "Step right up. It's time to play 'Pick Your Pigeonhole'".

For me, I make glass jewelry which I think is art, but isn't it also glass and jewelry? (one choice only, Please)

Seriously, if the show has the word "Art" in the title, then shouldn't everything be art? If I don't pick Art from the list, am I out completely? What about the poor folks who pick Woodcraft? Since craft is in their name do they get automatically rejected?

At least I don't have to pick Other.

Please submit three photos of your work.

OK, this seems simple enough, right? You've been working all year creating one fabulous piece after the other, now pick three (and only three) to represent you in front of our panel of esteemed judges (which we don't know).

If we pick the more elaborate and detailed pieces to showcase our talents, they might think "it's just not right for our attendees". But, if we pick the pieces that are generally popular and should sell well we run the risk of "it's very nice, but not really special enough for our attendees".

Or better yet...

Please submit three photos of your work as slides.

Slides, really? Who can take slides anymore? Where would you get them developed and on what would we display them on?

If I were 10 years younger I probably wouldn't even know what slides are. This is the digital age, take a CD or prints at least.

Fortunately, in lieu of slides, oil paintings and cave drawings are also valid and acceptable forms of pictorial represenation of our work.

Special Requests or Needs?

"Yeah, I'd like to be accepted into your show."

I would love to see what other vendors put down for this one. I'm always afraid to put anything in it since I don't want to appear to be: needy, picky, pushy, demanding, high-maintenance, self-important, entitled, arrogant, a PITA or any other horrible descriptor you can think up. I'm trying to put my best foot forward and hoping to get into a show, so I'll just leave that one blank.

Is that a rookie mistake?

"There are no special requests or needs listed. Obviously, he has no idea what he is doing. Reject!"

After all that, you're probably wondering if I've applied to any shows this year.

Well, yes, I've applied to several this year in spite of the stress and hope and panic and self-doubt it inspires year after year. In the end, if I can get into a couple of shows, it all become worth it. I get to show my work to the public, get feedback, meet some interesting people and, with a little luck, make some money so I can do it all again next year because it is all so worth it!(after all that I'm hoping not to get black balled entirely)

Happy Stress Season, Everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dipping My Toes Back Into The 'Bay!

So, why am I nervous?

Maybe it's because I've been down this road once before without much success.

Maybe I'm afraid that this item won't sell either and it will be a waste of my time and energy.

Maybe it means that my work is, which I love, is just not that great.

Maybe I'm just chronically insecure.

So why did I bother in the first place?

I listed an item because I have something new and didn't see anything like it out there currently.

I listed an item to give it a shot and see what the response is like to it.

I listed an item to prove that my own doubts would not derail my ambition.

I listed an item to help publicize my Facebook page for these items and maybe get some new fans.

I listed an item because I figured if it didn't work, I'd still have my item and I'd only be out a couple of bucks and week's worth of watching and waiting.

I listed an item because I was curious.

As you can see, the potential benefits outweigh the doubts, so now I've just got to wait and see what happens. Wish me luck!

Tune in next week for the exciting conclusion! Same ByHand Time, Same ByHand Channel!