3 December 2014

How bazaar

Tomorrow I'll be off to the first of two bazaars this year. Last year I did more, but some nameless person (cough*mom*cough) forgot to tell me when her church (my old church)was having theirs.

I used to do them regularly, stopped for about ten or so years, and then started again. A lot of things changed in those ten years. Let me describe two.

First off, I no longer had a car. Having a car meant that when I wished to go to a bazaar, I simply loaded up the car and headed out. Car maintenance was part of the household budget, so the only thing this trip would cost was gas. Not having a car means I either rent one or take public transportation. Taking public transportation means I can only take a limited amount of the goods I have made, which means a potential loss in sales. Renting a car means an absolute loss in money.

I tried to rent a car for tomorrow. The cost of renting for a single day was $43.00. Plus a five dollar tax, plus another twenty dollar tax, plus another twenty dollars for insurance. Plus tax. Plus gas. So a hundred plus bucks out of pocket before I make my first sale. Add on the fifty dollar charge for renting the table, and I would be out of pocket over a hundred and fifty bucks. Plus the cost of making my stuff, which I keep very low, but not nothing.

To sum up, I would have to sell over two hundred bucks to break even. At most of the bazaars I do, I sell at about an average rate of $40-$50 per hour, so for a four hour bazaar I should reasonably sell about two hundred bucks worth of stuff. In short, on an average day I would end up losing money with the car.

So instead, I'm loading up my granny cart and heading out on the bus. I will show up at an academy indistinguishable from a hobo. Hopefully they'll still let me in the door, otherwise I'll also be out the fifty bucks for renting the table. But this way I should be able to turn a profit. It's not a big one, mind, but no one ever went broke turning a small profit. Or so an uncle used to tell me. Who died broke. Never mind.

Is there a way to make more money and boost sales? That brings me to the second problem: people don't carry money any more. They carry credit cards and debit cards and maybe- just maybe- a twenty, which they don't wish to spend in one place. You can only get small pieces of that twenty off them. Last year, when I made nearly three hundred at one bazaar, I did it the hard way: two and five dollars at a time.

There are alternatives, such as card readers for smart phones which allow people to pay with their bank or credit cards no matter where you are. The only problem is that I don't have a smart phone, nor do I have any cell phone at all. I don't want one. I hate phones in general, including home phones. The only thing that makes a home phone tolerable is that it stays at home when I leave. However, there are alternatives to that as well. Some of our technology can be hooked up to a card reader and we can have Internet if we also get some kind of rocket Internet booster, for the low low cost of two hundred bucks plus a monthly user fee. I was hesitant, but I bent. We got the booster. It can help us make money. Maybe. I hope. Unlike the car, I will have this thing for a while and can spread its cost out over several bazaars. If it works, it may pay for itself quickly. I hope.

My next bazaar is on Saturday at St Cecilia's. I was concerned that I may end up selling all my good stuff at the sale at the academy, but then I thought: who cares? A sale is a sale. Get rid of your stuff any way possible. At any rate, if anyone is out nears St Cecilia's next Saturday between 9:00 and 1:30, drop on by. I may have something you want. Feel free to bring your plastic. I'm ready for it.

1 comment:

Julian Barkin said...

Hey Bear,

For future, have you tried checking out Zipcar? I bought into it when I thought I needed it, though I do not anymore. I think they had a one time sign up fee of 35-45 dollars, then you pay either $12.50/hr, or 79/day. You can book and/or extend rentals via text messaging. Also there is an optional &7-10 damage waiver fee/month you can purhase that covers up to $750 damage. Finally ... You don't pay for gas. If you fill up (and must leave 1/2 a tank for the next user) you then use a card inside the car to pay at gas stations. Only thing also is to get the car, it's at certain pickup sites in a toronto so you have to go there and get it. Thankfully it seems more sites are appearing near ttc stops/parking lots for pickup. Maybe worth a look?