Ebullent, bouyant or joyous. These are some words that come to mind as you close your booth on Friday evening – the first day of a three-day show. Those words come to you if that first day has been successful. You can tell by the wad of cash in your pocket.
The idea is to grow that wad over the following days of the show and, on Monday, make a bank deposit. Of course, you know from your records how much of that deposit is needed to cover the cost of sales on goods, show fees, insurance, and travel expenses. Your job, beyond sales, is to navigate the traps that wait for you at the show that will truncate, destroy or severely reduce the wad before you get to the bank.
Look at it as a sort of board game.
First, you reach into the Fortune Deck for a card: Give ten dollars to your oldest son for food. His nickname is the Bottomless Pit. Last year you won a bet on how many entire pizzas he could eat, and the loser paid the dinner tab. Now all your friends nervously ask if he’ll be at dinner when you go out. Go back two steps.
You roll the die and advance five steps to make a large sale.
Next move, you land on the Truth or Consequences square and find out that the person in the booth next to you is pushing into your ten-by-ten space. Show management chastises him. Take a bonus fortune card.
Over the following rounds, you steadily gain on the goal of landing on the Bonanza Show Spot, which gives you a free advance equal to your next die roll and 150 points.
But later on, you again land on Truth or Consequences. This time you get caught in a lie about a competitor’s product. You lose seventy-five points.
On the last day of the show, a Fortune card tells you to roll a die to see if a customer finds your product claims to be credulous or incredulous. You roll a five, and the customer orders a four thousand dollar special order, leaving a fifty percent deposit. You reach over, ring the winner’s bell, and advance your little ship token to the Bonanza Show Spot. You have won. Monday morning, you make it to the bank with a hefty deposit.
Sometimes shows feel pretty much like this. All your proper prior preparation is at risk because of bad weather, tents blowing over, or knots of people obstructing your booth as they argue about who’ll pay for lunch.
Just be careful, don’t do like your neighbor does when he starts breaking down an hour before the show ends on Sunday. That might be when you pull a final Fortune card and take that big order.
I’ve had it happen to me.