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breakage at craft shows??????

updated sun 31 aug 97


Christian R. Eberle on thu 28 aug 97

I have a question for all of you who have been doing craft shows, I am
scheduled to do my first one next month and I am wondering about the
breakage issue. Did any of you have problems with breakage and if so, what
does the breaker of the object do????? Do you just have to hope they offer
to pay?? Can they just walk away and say "ow well?"

Ruth W.
in Warwick, NY

Carolynn Palmer on fri 29 aug 97

Breakage by customers does occur at craft shows. Over the years, I have
developed this strategy to deal with this problem.

It depends upon the piece broken and the "Breaker" - if the Breaker can
afford it and offers to pay for the piece, I accept. However, rather than
have the Breaker carry away a broken pot and bad memories of shows and
potters, most of the time, I accept their apologies and simply add it into
the cost of doing the show. This works for me because I mostly do
affordable, functional work.

Eleanora Eden on fri 29 aug 97

Hi Ruth,

I really wouldn't worry about it too much. I don't know about other people
but I have been doing fairs for a really long time and there has been very
little breakage overall. The biggest problem I think I see is people with
big handbags swinging around and they are not aware of the damage they can
cause. I try to stay alert...people are generally careful but maybe they
are a bit more careful if they see somebody is watching out...


Eleanora Eden 802 869-2003
Paradise Hill
Bellows Falls, VT 05101

Norman R. Czuchra on fri 29 aug 97

Ruth-We have breakage several times a year. If it occurs through
carelessness, I expect the person to pay for the damage. Some volunteer to
pay and others will try and sneak away. I have learned to post caution,
fragile signs in several areas of my display and am astounded at how few
people notice them. They are the only flaming yellow item in my booth but
it makes little difference until after they drop something. Then the signs
matter. If the person immediately makes contact and apologizes, I will
split the difference. If they do not, I point out the breakage and the
signs and wait until they respond. Responses vary: "Oh, well, that's one
you won't have to pack up at the end of the show", "but I don't even like
it", "its not the right color", "I didn't mean to", etc. etc. If you simply
stand there with the broken pieces in your hand long enough, the majority
will snarl and finally pay for the damage. If they really need prying, I
inform them that their homeowners INSURANCE policy usually will pay for it.
Once on a really bad day when a woman (wearing $200.00 shoes and several
thousand in jewelry) carelessly picked up a plate and set it on the edge of
the display and it immediately fell off and refused to pay, I (with a minor
twinge of guilt for poor behavior on my part) followed her from booth to
booth saying to all within hearing, "this woman broke something and refused
to pay" until she left the show. Unprofessional on my part? yes. Do I
regret it no. Can people walk away? You bet. Any recourse? Not much. You
can try and find a security guard if its a really big ticket item and try
the argument that if they ran into your car and damaged it, they'd be
responsible so why not at an Art Show where people should know that there is
breakable work.

I also recommend making your display so that the cases, boxes etc are very
stable. Put narrow based items on higher shelves or towards the back of the
display. Be alert and ready to "demonstrate" a lidded piece so they're
aware that it might open. Give people some room to move around and engage
children as soon as they enter your booth. If you explain the work to the
kids,control their touching by offering to hold a piece while they touch,
the parents overhear, the children are either really interested, bored or
uncomfortable and stick to the parent while you're protecting your work.

Good luck and grow a thick skin.
Candace Young

Did any of you have problems with breakage and if so, what
>does the breaker of the object do????? Do you just have to hope they offer
>to pay?? Can they just walk away and say "ow well?"
>Ruth Warwick, NY