I set up at my first event on Saturday and although turnout was low (bad weather) I did sell a lot of items and generated some interest but I need some advice please:
I was shocked and angered that so many parents allowed their small children to run into my booth, grab my items, and act like they were in a toy store! My items are fragile, very delicate, and absolutely not for children.
One woman even brought her dog in on a leash and he jumped up, put his front paws on my table, and the whole thing began to shake. I was terrified it was going to fall over! I didn't want to get angry and insult customers but I was fuming.
How should I handle this for my next show? Should I make up signs?
Thanks so much for your help and have a great day! :)
Everyone that has ever done shows for an extended period of time has felt your pain. While all the suggestions made are effective, some may be perceived as negative or confrontational. So the other option, is modify your booth to minimize those situations. I do shows with lots of dogs so the first thing I did was to raise my table height from the standard 30" tall folding table. I would raise it to at least 36", it makes it easier for adult customers to see your items too while restricting some dogs (and kids). You can do this by buying pvc piping at home depot (1.5" or 2" width) and cutting to length to extend the legs of your tables. The other thing I would do is re-arrange items so the things at the front of the booth, you would expect to be touched. Maybe keep the more fragile items closer to where you are so the customer has to ask to see it or at least be close enough to you while viewing it. Help this helps. Unfortunately this is one of those negative things we all have to deal with.
When someone comes into my booth that looks like they do not probably know how to handle my creations properly I just say "Don't Touch"... I find this much better than having to deal with a broken piece of work. I don't make sales to kids or dogs and most parents who are responsible train both their kids and pets.
Signs might help, but in my opinion you would be better off politely (with a smile) yet firmly telling anyone (parent or adult) that your items are fragile and you are SURE they would prefer to own it as a whole piece and not in parts.
Post a visible note: "If I am broken, I am sold".