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Packing up in the middle of show rant

begin rant

I am selling at an art show this weekend. It is a new location for
the show. And granted attendance sucks as well as sales. But what
really burns my rear end is that about 3:00 4-5 artists packed up
their tents and left. The show was scheduled until 8:00 tonight. That
after standing around ignoring their booths and loudly complaining
about no sales.

I asked the show promoter if there was any way to enforce no early
breakdowns and he said he could write it in the show contract but
enforcing it at an outdoor show would be impossible and it would lead
to an “I sue you” and “you sue me” situation.

So whatever happened to professionalism and commitment? Do those
people care that packing up in the middle of the show will drive off
what meager customers there are and ruin the show for the other
artists? Does it always have to be me, me, me? “I’m not selling
anything. I’m hot. I’m going home to enjoy what’s left of the
weekend.” Waa! Waa! Waa! Somebody call a waaaaambulance…

end rant

Thanks for reading. I feel better now. Hoping for a better day
tomorrow now that we have weeded out the quitters.

Peace, love, and hammering metal!

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I’m with you Rick. Its inexcusable and a slap at your fellow
artists. Plus the promoter had no spine. He/she should have at least
come and talk with them and filled them with shame.


rant support: sounds like the promoter owes you a refund…

no projected attendance at venue = no diligence in advertising or
promotion of new venue was it well advertised? in how many media
?radio,TV,Press,craft/art mags,flyers-on-a-lightpost? did you see
advertisement or just a contract and pay here? was there a
competitive event somewhere else in town this weekend? how many
vendors were there that stuck it out?

More potential buyers for your stuff today their work probably
sucked, or was prone to melting…

and most shows have prohibitive policies about early breakdowns,
late set-ups so he’s grasping for straws there…

Hi Rick,

I’m totally with you on that one. I did one a few weeks ago where
someone was packing up 15 mins before the end, and that also really
got me. They had such a small setup, they were actually done by
end-of-day “bell”, couldn’t they have waited that extra 15 minutes?
The first show I did in this area turned out to be the totally wrong
market for me. Even the customers knew it. I didn’t want to wait a
whole show cycle before doing any (going to them first to check them
out), so I picked one & did it. Nothing against the show for what it
was, it just wasn’t for me. Fortunately, it was only one day, but I
stayed there until the very last minute of the show, smiling &
treating every person who came in as I’d want to be treated, and I
sold not one little bit of anything. Did I think about packing up
early? No, absoluately not! Unless there is a flood or tornado or
some other horrible reason, it really gets me that some people feel
they are above the rules of common courtesy and professionalism. By
the way, you really cracked me up with that, “Somebody call a

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

Well, I’m glad I stuck it out. There were a few more customers on
Sunday and they were buying! At least at my booth. One of my first
customers on Sunday made my weekend. The show was only 5 minutes from
my house so my expenses were mostly the booth fee ($290 + $10 jury

The others that stuck it out were equally incensed at the people
packing it in on Saturday. I’m still a newbie at shows but it makes
me feel better that if I can get people walking by my booth I make
sales. One thing I will say about the customers this weekend, no one
asked for a discount. Unlike the Gem and Mineral show I did the
previous weekend where everyone wanted a discount. But rockhounds are
notoriously cheap and also think they can grab a rock from their
collection, wrap a wire around it, and call it jewelry.

A few things I’ve learned from the few shows I have done in the last
two years:

  • Don’t jump at a new show or a show at a new venue.

  • Check out the promoter’s track record, past attendance of the
    show, etc.

  • Be cautious about signing up for fine art shows in small to medium
    cities. I had a couple customers comment that they had read about the
    show but were hesitant in coming because they thought it would all be
    paintings and sculptures. It may be just the small town mentality of
    where I live. If you wanted to attract a crowd where I live the
    headline should read: “GUN and art show”. Of course your going to
    attract the discount hunters that way…

Peace, love, and hammering metal!

Rick Copeland
Silversmith and Lapidary Artisan
Colorado Springs, Colorado


I totally agree with you! It is not only tacky and unprofessional but
it screams “I don’t give a sh*t about any of my fellow artists”.

It is really inconsiderate and the show promoters should have walked
over to them and said something. That’s pretty lame that they

What whimps!

I’ve had shows where I was writing orders and my neighbors were done
packing before I was done writing orders. If my neighbor was writing
an order I’d stay even after the show officially ended just in case
the buyer would stop by my booth next! They might not be done
shopping, and it’s worth an extra 15 minutes for me to find out
whether or not they’re gonna stop and see me on their way out of the

I’ve heard the excuse: “Well, that’s the only flight I could get out
that night.” I understand money is tight and shows and accommodations
are expensive, but if you make the commitment to do the show I feel
that you need to stay until the end.

Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge

at any show pack up after the closing bell. Leaving early is bad and
it not only circumvents show rules but show security as well. Really

Silver & Cameo Heritage Jewelry

I am with a Farmers Market. We begin the weekend of Mothers Day and
end in mid October. We have a standard core of regulars (there the
entire time everyday) for all are told you must stay the entire time
and no packing up until after the closing time. Those that have only
chosen 5 dates or small packages and are caught packing up early
because of a slow day are told not to come back and are only given a
50%REFUND Our rules are strict but fair. We have vendors who sell
out early but they remain there until the end and they usually wander
around talking to everyone else. I guess the regular vendors become
like a family we support each other. I had one vendor beside me last
saturday who had not sold anything (except to me) until 11:30 and
then all of a sudden he was having to take orders as he had nothing
left. Sometimes it just takes awhile for people to come outside. You
just have to be patient. I have had extemely bad days where I have
not sold anything and even at that had two rings stolen from me
(talk about a slap in the face) but the next day pulled in over
500.00. You just never know.


I have been amazed at how the last 30 min of a show can turn in to
the most productive part of the day. I did one show where the lady
was so thrilled with what I was offering, we set up a private
meeting and she is now a regular. Every year she does her family
shopping with me first !

Got to love those kind !


Tina, I too have had too many sales in the last 10 mins of a show to
ever even THINK about packing up early! I even sometimes feel ensure
about it when the show is officially over, I wait until it really
seems like the customers are gone. Or at least I’ll try to pack up
other stuff before removing my inventory, just to be sure if there’s
one last potential customer walking by, I don’t lose out. Great that
you ended up with such a devoted regular as a result. You never know
who your best customer will be (sometimes, they really don’t "look"
the part!), or when they’ll happen by your booth, and you never know
what can result from even just the person who compliments nicely &
takes a card. They may later contact you & be your best customer!

Designs by Lisa Gallagher