Chaos Attraction

Whole Earth 2005 Report

2005-05-09, 4:52 p.m.

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Whole Earth this year was interesting- certainly of a different flavor from what I expected.

As usual, I spent way too much money. Four pairs of various sparkly earrings, an ear cuff, two dichroic pendants- that's par for the course. A $45 earring holder because I keep losing all of mine by knocking them off the nightstand in my sleep or some shit- that's necessary. A few fancy beads- that's usual. What was unusual this year was that I bought a lot of clothes at WEF- which I don't normally do because they rack up the money. But I found a lovely silkscreened tank top with a painting design on it, and a lovely velvet hat. And I needed more T-shirts for clubbing, so I got another one with a pretty design on it. And then I went to another tie-dye booth that I usually hit and found a really lovely tank and even a tie-dyed buttondown shirt that go great together.

The funny thing was, the shirt I got from these people a year or so ago, I managed to screw up. I'd long since lost their instructions on how to wash it by the time I had to wash it, and had no idea what the hell to do. I finally decided, "Eh, hand wash sounds like it'd be the least screw-uppy way to do it, right?" WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Because (I now know this from the tie-dye workshop last week, where the instructor said to not let shirts sit around wet in water before the agitation kicks in on the washer) it made the shirt bleed. Anyway, I was wearing said shirt that day with a sweater tied over the bled-on bit, and the guy running the booth recognized (a) the shirt, and (b) what I did to it. He nicely explained to me that there IS a way to fix the shirt in the wash. Wow. Yup, I'm happy I shop from him. Heck, I even got Denise (see below) to buy from him, and she's the girl who won't spend more than $10 on anything.

I also ended up buying a few meals at Whole Earth this year, despite last year's really nasty pizza. I managed to find a booth that sold some good knishes, so I just ate there for 2 out of the 3 days, before I got fed up of paying $4 per item (and believe me, that was CHEAP at WEF). Come on, $3 for organic lemonade? Gah.

After hanging around with Denise and her mom and her mom's friend off and on, I went to go watch a free showing of Super Size Me on campus. I really need to mention this to Heather- she's been wigging out that her boyfriend gained 20 pounds since they hooked up and doesn't eat anything other than fast food and hardly exercises any more, to the point that when we went to the grocery store the other night, she bought him tons of Lean Cuisines. Whether or not he actually eats them shall be er, amusing, but I think if she shows him this movie as to what happens if fast food is ALL you eat, it might scare the crap out of him. Hell, I hardly ever eat fast food and it scared me. (I give major chutzpah points to Morgan Spurlock for continuing the program past Day 21. I so would have quit right there.) I pretty much only eat fast food when I'm with the parents or Chris and Heather and the options are limited, though.


I'm not going to nitpick the sales experience of WEF as much as I did last year. I wasn't there for several hours on Saturday due to my already having a prior engagement of wire jewelry class, so I missed the three people who came by and bought some stuff. The cheapest earrings and fused glass pendant I had up, and one pentacle necklace I've had for years (finally, a happy hippie found it!). I seriously WAS NOT EXPECTING to sell anything this year, so that amazed me. It also worried me, because last year the first day was my big seller day, and weather.com was predicting nothing but downpour all Sunday.

Sure enough, the rain was horrendous all day and night that day. Probably half the bunch from Saturday came back Sunday, and the manager of the CC told us to call her if we decided the weather was too heinous and we wanted to leave early. Luckily for us, it was really rainy but NOT cold or windy, so we ended up staying.

And somehow I managed to make $93. Yes, most of that was in the pouring rain, too! Hooray! That... probably nearly makes up for a third of the spending I did at Whole Earth (heh).

I think everyone selling managed to sell at least one item at some point. I was hanging out with 3/4 of my old gang from last quarter's volunteering, all of whom had gotten together and bought a bag of hemp scraps and made wallets to sell, and they were disappointed to have only sold 3. I think that's still pretty good. Hell, if they ever made any big enough to hold a checkbook, I might get one, and I don't even normally like hemp much.

Anyway, most of us left on Sunday had an interesting discussion about the nature of sales. And we determined the following "rules" of selling:

(a) There is no logic behind what sells and what doesn't. You can spend tons of time knocking out something nice and the cheap crap goes. You can spend tons of time knocking out cheap crap and the nice stuff goes. There is no statistical logic behind people's shopping choices.
(b) There is no logic behind pricing to get people to buy. You can knock your prices down to what you think are insane levels, to the point where you don't even make a profit any more, and people will still whine, "God, $5? That's so expensive!" Putting stuff on sale may or may not even get you anywhere.
(c) You cannot pay yourself for labor on craft items.
When I was in high school, I did a fashion design competition in which one designed a line of clothing (well, "line" equating to 3 items) and then did all of the financial work to go along with it. It was emphasized that one should always charge at least minimum wage labor costs per hour of the item worked, and add that charge into your garment.
This does not in the slightest bit work out well for craft items. It may take you an hour or two or three to make that woven necklace/glass item/sewn item of clothing/what have you. But even if you say, cut your minimum wage down to $6 even, it won't work out. Because if your materials cost you $5 and your woven bracelet took you an hour to make, that makes the cost of the bracelet at least $11 to recoup costs. If you want to make a profit on it, it'd end up being $22. And that's where you get people looking at said item and thinking, "Fuck, that's way too much money for a little bracelet. Why can't it be $5?"
(d) Any craft item you can make that isn't ridiculously and obviously expensive probably looks like it was cheaper to make than it actually was- especially if you're used to living in a Wal-Mart society. And thus, people won't think it's worth what you're charging.

It is frustrating. I'm glad this year I didn't go bonkers making more stuff the way I did last year and kept it more low-key.

Did I mention that despite weather reports predicting more rain, today has been sunny? Why couldn't it have done that YESTERDAY?!


*sigh* I'm going to say another one of those things that pisses everyone off again.

I hate parent's days.

Mother's Day just kind of gave me the heebie-jeebies this year.

Reason #1: My friend Denise was going to be at Whole Earth on Friday. So was I. So was her mother. So hey, why not all hang out together, eh? We'd probably run into each other anyway (it's happened before).
Well, Denise calls me while I'm there to say that her mother got all pissy at the idea because "it's Mother's Day and you should be spending time with me." (Note this was Friday, and their family already had plans for Mother's Day involving that.) I was all, "Okay, go kiss her ass immediately, and we won't meet up." Denise said that she thought her mom thought she was dumping her for me. Well, that wasn't going to happen!
Anyway, her mom showed up at Whole Earth with a friend of her own, and we all went around together for awhile with no problems and everyone cheerful. Go figure.

Reason #2. There was this one teenage girl who was really eyeing one pendant of mine. Unfortunately, she was at the age where she was obviously not allowed to spend her own money, and every time she'd ask her mom about it, the mom would snap in the nastiest tone, "YOU'LL NEVER WEAR THAT!!"
Which gave me unpleasant flashbacks to being a kid and gazing at pretty dresses, only to have my mom snap, "YOU HAVE NOWHERE TO WEAR THAT!" (Which is why as a psuedo-adult, I wear dresses and velvet and leather to work every day. I may not ever have a special occasion to get dressed up for short of Halloween/Whole Earth/Rocky Horror, but goddammit, I'm gonna look pretty even if I'm just doing nothing!)

I did see one really nice mother-daughter combo (that bought another sea necklace from me) that were really sweet. That was nice and took the edge off the previous mother.

Reason #3: I felt TEH GUILT again this year, because I don't take the weekend to go home and dance attendance upon Mom and make her feel special. (Honestly, I wish they'd hold WEF on another weekend. But they never will, because "Mother Earth" connotations are so kewl and hippie! And dammit, I am not missing it, for many reasons.) I did the requisite Sunday call and oddly enough, she didn't bitch me out for not sending her a card (so sue me, I never remember goddamned cards. Mailed some today, but it probably doesn't count if they're late. Nevermind that I spent tons of money on gifts that I ordered in April, 'cause she didn't even open those.). Course, this was apparently because she was so massively tired she was going to fall asleep on the telephone, so it probably means I'll get bitched out on Tuesday (her birthday) instead. She griped that "the holidays aren't special any more." Well, I certainly can't disagree with that one.


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