Saturday, September 22, 2012

I have had my antique mall booth for about 6 months now, and still enjoy it as much as I did in the beginning. Actually, I expanded again this week, adding yet another space at the Antique Mall of Marietta. This is a display shelving type of space, about 6 feet wide and 6 feet tall, with a light and glass doors that could be locked if I so desire. I don't--I need this space to display some of the nicer glassware I've been accumulating. I am really happy with the way things are working at this location, and particlarly enjoy the people who work there. They've been helpful and encouraging and I have enjoyed getting to know them.

I have learned a lot the past few months. I've changed some of my buying patterns, opting for less glass (though it is my passion) and more primitive/old farm items because these have higher demand than the glass I love.At Marietta, I focus on these primitives and on vintage kitchen items. Both are good sellers. I have noticed a few things, however. I learn a lot by listening to the people browsing the booths, and also by my eBay business; I hear and see what people are looking for, what they talk about as they browse. As one dealer commented, "People are buying their childhoods." Tis true.

They are also, however, buying what they like on prime time TV shows. Although I have never watched it, the show "Mad Men" has influenced my buyinng because apparently the set decors have inspired people to buy items from the 40's and 50's. Barware--signs, shot glasses, martini mixers and so on are hot today, people. Who would have thought it?

I've also learned what bothers people as they shop. And it's the same things that bother me. Here's a list I've been keeping:

1. No price. I hate it when I pick up something I'm interested in, only to find it has no price and no one can tell me what the price might be. I end up putting the item back. I try hard to make sure I have prices on everything, but you might be surprised how difficult that can be. Tags fall off, get removed, or I miss putting them on.

2. Over-crowded booths. I try to keep mine full. At the same time, I want people to be able to walk and look freely without having to inch into my area or worry about knocking something over. I tend to stand outside and peer into booths so full I can't get in without edging in sideways and I seldom buy anything from them. It's easy to overcrowd a space because as time goes by and more stuff is bought--well, it has to go somewhere. I prefer to keep things in totes at the house and wait til I have some open space or reorganize before bringing it in.

3. Poor lighting. That's one issue with one of my Marietta booths (although sales from that space are still really good). I think we may be able to resolve this soon but as a buyer I know I like well-lighted spaces where I can see things clearly.

4. Staff too busy talking to each other to pay attention to me. Recently we visited an antique mall where the workers were so busy wheeling and dealing with each other that they scarcely acknowledged the customers in the store. And they were so loud! While I'm sure they were thrilled with the good deals they'd gotten that day at esatate and yard sales, it seems a bit rude to let your customers know you got good deals and are now marking these items way up for them! Bad customer service really gets me, and I seldom return to places where I feel unimportant to the staff.

5. Nervous staff--you know the kind I mean, They hover, worried you'll break something, or they're over-anxious for you to buy. They creep along behind you, watching your every move. I cannot shop like that and leave pretty quickly.
6. Incense, scented candles and pets. In today's world with so many people having allergies, these just seem like a no-brainer. Don't do it. I have allergies and often have to turn right around and leave because of highly scented air that turns on my asthma big time.

7. Hours. Some places keep banker's hours, so the working folks can never come in. Others keep such erratic hours that you never know when they're open or closed.

8. And my number one biggest issue: Not taking credit, debit cards or personal checks. Who carries that much cash on them these days? A place that is not set up to take these forms of payment is shooting itself in the foot.

9. Lack of signage. I need to find the place, and then also be able to find my way around once inside!

10. And last, cleanliness and decor. An antique mall needs to be a destination. That means clean and bright, attractive and welcoming. I don't mind clutter at all, it's part of the charm but dissarray and dirt? Big turn-offs for me and probably every other potential customer. Bad smells? I'm outta there.

That's my list. What's yours? Do you have a particular thing that bugs you when you're shopping, whether in resale or new shops?

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Angela said...

I'm right there with you on all of your points Granny Sue. I hate it when something doesn't have a price. I hate to ask for a price especially if I'm dressed a little nicer that day because I always feel like they put the price up higher thinking I'm rich! lol I also can't stand it when it's dark and I can't see. Places that have incense and candles burning really bother me too. If a store even looks like they have that stuff in it I won't even go in to take a look. I seen a neat store in Madison yesterday that I would have went in but it really looked like it would have smelled just too strong for me. The smells actually make me sick to my stomach and I just can't make myself go in those places.

Jenny said...

Well I still love glass - maybe that's why I seem to be finding such good deals on them, no one else wants them anymore. I only by for my own enjoyment though so I don't buy much.

You've listed my biggest pet peeves - no price, crowded booths & poor lighting. The scents & pets don't bother me but I completely agree with you that's it's foolish for a business to have them. It can really make some people very sick.

I so wish I was close enough to actually visit your booths.

momalizzie said...

You hit the nail on the head with this list! It's very annoying to pick up an item I want, and there's no price sticker on it. We call it the "sticker monkey". Alot of times we put the price on an object, and use clear tape to hold it on. It works much better than just the sticker. And odors are the worst! Musty, moldy or whatever causes the smell, tears me up. Thanks for posting this, G-Sue.

hart said...

The staff not playing attention to customers and not being welcoming is a real annoyance. So is getting the feeling they are overly worried about shop lifting.--Jane

Michelle said...

I always hate it when I can't find a price tag. It means the difference in buying/not buying at times. Sad, but true.

Granny Sue said...

Angela, it just confounds me what can happen to a price tag! They can just disappear, apparently. I will know without doubt that I put one on, but where did it go? No one knows. It must happen to other dealers too, because it seems like every time I shop other places I run into unpriced items. I usually just put it back without trying to find out the price.

I still love glass too, Jenny, and I do still buy it. I'm trying to diversify a little more though so that I'm not as glass-heavy in my booths. Balance is what I'm after. I wish you could come up and shop too--wouldn't that be fun?

Granny Sue said...

You know the disappearing sticker woes as well as I do, I bet, Liz! I am sure they fall off due to humidity or maybe just not put on well--and then there are a few people who pull them off for whatever reason. But probably the biggest part of the problem is right here--me forgetting to put them on in the first place!

Granny Sue said...

Jane, I didn't memtion that but boy is that true! If they don't trust me, I don't want to be in their store. I am sure there are plenty of shoplifters out there, and it has to be a worry. I've lost a few small things myself from my booth. But most people are honest, and why punish all because of a few?

Granny Sue said...

Right there with you, Michelle. Even in retail stores, I won't wait for a price check. I just leave the item behind.

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