It is Sunday; the last day of a major comic/sci-fi festival, and I’ve been working with the public all weekend. My husband sells swords at these conventions. By the time I make it to the last day, I really shouldn’t be allowed to be around people, much less talk to them. Yet they put me over here on the table with the very sharp katanas, the licensed reproduction pieces, and the huge Buster Sword from Final Fantasy 7.
I have sharp, pointy objects right here in front of me. Really, I am not allowed to “People” today, at all.
Things That Make Me Feel Stabby Today
1. Is this sword real?
Please do not ask me this question. Are they not tangible? Can you not reach out and touch them? Do not proceed to be offended by my dripping sarcasm when I have heard this question all weekend and give you one of the following responses:
- “What swords? I see no swords here.”
- “No, they are not real. They are chocolate, wrapped in foil, made to look like swords. Please, bite into one.”
- “Oh good! The drugs are kicking in! How do you feel?”
- “No, they aren’t. In fact, the table isn’t, either. We tried to ease your transition when you were checked in, but I feel it necessary to tell you that you are, in fact, in a padded cell.”
2. Bad Parenting
Come on, people. If you have kids, teach them a little respect and make sure they know their manners. I have signs all over my shop saying “Do not touch unless you are 18 years old or older.” Don’t let your brood of children go handling the product anyway, especially when you know they’re going to get their fingerprints all over the blades and probably going to cut themselves. Oh, and then you’re going to blame me because I can’t watch all of your kids.
As for respect… teach your children that it is extremely rude to disrespect a vendor’s product, especially when they know nothing about it. To look at a folded steel katana on display, complete with its own “pedigree” that was signed by the maker and comment that $600 is a bit much for “a sword that’s almost real” (when I haven’t even made a sarcastic remark about whether a sword was real or not) will only show how ignorant your child is, and how poor of a job you have done as a parent.
3. Expecting Something for Nothing
Did you see my product at another vendor’s booth? Was this person really selling the same item for half of what I’ve got it marked? And you expect me to meet that price? Or beat it? So you want me to basically sell it to you at cost, or take a loss.
3a. Oh, and don’t lie to me about that vendor…
Yeah, we vendors do travel show to show and we do get to know each other. We develop relationships. We talk to each other. That vendor you told me about? I know that person. I know he’s selling that same item and I know exactly what he’s selling it for. When you leave my booth I’m going to see him to give him a heads up that you’re going between the two of us saying one is undercutting the other. Because I know you’re about to go to him next and tell him the same thing about me.
4. Dont. Touch. The Blade.
I have folded steel katanas in front of me. I have 1040 carbon steel in front of me. I have weapons priced $300 and up on display that you may pick up, look at, and unsheathe for a closer inspection. However, anyone who knows about these weapons will know that you cannot touch the blade. The oils from your fingers will promote rust and damage the blade. I understand you may not know this, and I’m happy to explain it to you. But after I’ve told you, I don’t understand why you insist on touching the blade anyway. See, now I have to get the cleaning cloth and wipe down every blade you’ve touched, getting all your fingerprints off.
Also, every time you touch these weapons you risk cutting yourself. I’m not talking a small cut. We’re talking stitches here. One festival we were at, a customer had to leave to get stitches in his hand where he sliced himself open. Stitches on the inside first, then the outside. Yeah, he did himself up really good. But I will guarantee you it will be a clean cut. Just do me a favor, will you? Don’t sheath the katana or the sword after you’ve blooded yourself. I can easily clean your blood off the blade, but I can’t get your blood out of anything else. Don’t ruin my product, please.
And above all, don’t be an idiot.
5. Are These Dangerous?
Or, “Are these sharp,” or any other variation on this question. I can’t answer this question with a definite yes or no. By Sunday, I won’t answer this question at all. Any weapon in front of me is dangerous, and you are treading on thin ice by breathing in front of me. I’m wearing sunglasses because the lights hurt my eyes. There is not enough coffee and my migraine meds are in my suitcase, in the car. All I want to do is take one of the throwing axes and use you for target practice. You tell me if they’re dangerous.
6. Ignoring the Signs
I have signs posted all over the shop that clearly state, “You must be 18 years old or older to touch the weaponry.” You are old enough to read. I know you can read because you are making comments about the prices. You are twelve. Get your juvenile paws off of my swords.
The day is almost over now. I am still here. I haven’t killed or maimed anyone yet, so that is a plus. I managed to sell the Buster Sword, so I don’t have to deal with those questions anymore. Perhaps this day is looking up.