OH MY GOODNESS, I am sooooooooooooooooooo tired. We had an ok day at our first flea market. First of all, and I thought this would be the case, people who go shopping at a flea market (especially this particular one) are looking for garage sale type stuff, NOT brand new items. So we sold about five outfits. Second of all, this particular flea market was not a very good one, size, organizationally, etc. More about that in a minute. Third, we have a lot to learn about setting up, talking with the customers, pricing, and so forth...
But I knew it would be a learning experience. I knew we would probably be outside the budget of most flea market shoppers, and I knew that we might face some challenges with the "culture" of Japan's flea market. So I am not in the least bit discouraged! You have to learn and be challenged to grow, and grow we shall!!!
We got in trouble for having only brand new items!? There was this flea police lady, i.e. JERK, that decided she wanted to pick on us ALL day! The flea police first decided that our little tarp was outside our alloted space, so we had to move everything in order to back up our items like TWO INCHES. Then she decided our setting was going to be in the way of the customer who was coming in beside us, so we had to move everything again (don't ask me how if we were set up within our space, we were going to be in the way of our neighbor, but she was convinced of this). THEN after she had already dealt with our booth that many times and had seen what we were selling and seen all our signs that clearly read we are selling new import items, she comes by and says the we are not allowed to have all new items, that this particular flea market specializes in the sell of unwanted personal items, or recycling things, and we are only allowed to have TEN new items out. Here we stand with a wrack full of about 100 outfits, AND about 30 more layed out on the ground and she is telling us we have to get out some used stuff and only display ten new items. I looked at miss flea police like she was a lunatic! did it look like we had any used items up our sleeve or something?
So I headed over to talk to the woman who had spoken with on the phone many times and who took my reservation. I explained to her that I was sorry we were breaking the rules but that I couldn't read all the Japanese that was in the explanation on the internet and I asked her flat out if we should close up our booth. She said no, that it was fine for today but next time bring at least half of our stuff used. (by the way I am still trying to figure out the REASON for a rule such as this, but I will probably never figure that one out) So I breath a sigh of relief and head back to our booth when the flea police shows up again, and tells me again I can only display ten items. I took down about half of our clothing. The next time she waits till I leave the booth for something, and she comes and tells our friend who is helping with the booth. My friend is determined not to give into this woman since we had permission to continue from the other lady. So the flea police, now thoroughly preterbed because her demands have been ignored comes back again! However, again she got ignored! We made it to 3 pm, the end, without ever taking down any more items, we didn't sell much anyways, so the fact that the clothes were not all out on display didn't hurt us too much, BUT we will never go back there again. I later realized they cheated me out of 500 yen (about $5) on my registration fee as well. they must have had it in for the foreigners, because there were several other booths with PLENTY of brand new items and little or no used items out, and they weren't getting bugged or told to put their stuff away. There were also plenty of other booths taking up more than their share of space, and nothing was said to them. The flea police chick just wanted to pick on somebody and the foreigners looked like an easy target. This is the FIRST time I have ever been so blatantly treated differently in Japan, in a negative way because I am a "gaijin".
However, the reason we will not go back there is not because we are pouting and throwing a fit, it just wasn't our crowd. However we made good friends with our next door neighbor, who by the way commented often on how strick miss flea police was being, and she gave us the scoop on some REALLY great flea markets to go to, where she said our items would sell well. We also met another awesome lady who spoke English beautifully, and she will be moving to Arizona soon. She is really interested in CyberWize, and just overall interested in us. But best of all, she is interested in the GOSPEL!!! I can't wait to keep in touch with her and get her going to a church when she gets to the states. Her husband is American and they have 3 kids. It was so great to meet her.
SOOOOOOOOOO, it was a great learning experience. We will probably do many more flea markets because if nothing else we got to hand out business cards with our web address on it. And we got to meet people, that is what I love most about this. I get to meet people I would never come in contact with otherwise. People I can tell about Jesus!
Next time, I also know to stand up for myself if I ever run into another anal flea police! I think my just looking at her with this "your crazy" look on my face was not very effective.
Hana did AWESOME though! she even took a nap in her stroller. She was a major tropper. It was exhausting keeping up with her and the store, but it was great to learn that I can do it with if I need to. And I think she pretty much enjoyed it.
I am totally pooped though, so I am off to bed. Tomorrow I have to get ready for Rocky's brother's family to come and spend the rest of the week with us. Their family has grown, they now total four, and that is too many to fit in Rocky's parent's little apartment so we get to play host from now on! Praise God for our huge spacious house!