As I write this blog, the lyric that continues to run through my mind is Carly Simon’s “You’re so vain you probably think this song is about you.” The reality is a lot of us, as vendors, are guilty of some of these vendor-to-vendor faux pas, but may not realize it or probably have no ill intent. Do yourself a favor and read through, not just to check your own behavior, but to share so we can put an end to vendor-to-vendor misanthropy and finally create a community of collaboration.
- Stop Asking Me to Buy Your Products! If I’m a vendor at the same event where you’re also vending, I am there to make money. Do not ask me to buy your products. Whether this is explicit through direct communication or implicit through passive means, it is never okay.
- Do Not Buy My Products Just To Make Me Feel Like I Need to Buy Yours. If you want to buy my products because you like them, that’s wonderful and thank you! However, if you purchase from me solely for the intention of believing I will purchase from you, then please don’t bother. Do not assume I am in the position to purchase from you, do not assume I am your target market, do not assume I even like your products – so, to buy from me just to get me to buy from you— you’ll make more money by just saving yours.
- Do Not Ask Me For a Discount. Did you unpack your products this morning to set up and vend? Did you spend the last few days preparing all of your bins and bags? Did you work the last few weeks to make, order, organize your inventory? Did you market your products? Did you work hard on your business? My guess is that if you’re a small business owner, you did all of these things. So, if you know how hard we all work, then we should be on the same team – don’t ask me for a discount.
- Please Keep to Your Own Table. I was at an event today where one vendor had not yet shown up to set up, so the vendors next to him just decided to take it upon themselves to take up half his table. By the time he did show up (which was still on time), it took them 20 minutes to clear what they laid out on HIS table. Stay in your own lane, driver.
- Do Not Pilfer My Customers. I was talking to a customer at my table today when another vendor came up to my customer, tapped her on the shoulder, and pulled her to his table. Now, I understand there may have been a conversation that happened prior to the customer visiting my table, but it is incredibly rude to act as an interloper and infringe upon my time with the customer. Wait until the conversation or transaction is over, rude.
- Do Not Pack Up Early. I don’t care if you have to pick up your kids from soccer practice, or if you’re not making any money, you made a commitment. Because this is what happens – a customer reads that the event ends at 4, but comes at 3:30 and sees a bunch of vendors packing up and assumes – guess what – that the event is over. So, not only are you dismissing your own business, but you’re taking money out of my pocket. If you cannot commit for the full time, then don’t commit at all. **This also applies to folks who are late to set -up!
What other vendor-to-vendor etiquette points would you add?