ed_sullivan_1953By: Chrysa Smith

There are the close-lookers; the close talkers. There are the casual gawkers and the serious bargain shoppers. There are the circlers and the hawks. and then there are those with the crazy eyes.

Welcome to the world of craft fairs. and there are no shortages of them at this time of year. It doesn’t seem to matter if the goods are high-brow or low-class. The shoppers all seem to fall into categories represented in the faces of the Muppets, the Simpsons and South Park.

I was a vendor at such an even this weekend, with my children’s books. Two long days. But in between the sales, as long a two days as it might have been, I engaged in one of my favorite hobbies– people-watching. Not very aerobic, but my eyeballs sure got a workout, as well as my imagination.

What makes people make a purchase? Necessity for sure. But there were no necessities at a craft fair. So what about impulse purchases? What’s the internal trigger that gets pulled?  (A few hours more and I might have pulled my own).

There are the completely honest folks: Sorry, don’t have kids the age appropriate for what you’re selling. OK, great.Then there are those who want to think more—those who will ‘come back’ and those who are just looking—well, touching really. Opening books and flipping through them, bending covers, all after sucking back a hot dog and a Coke.

Sorry, I know these are all potential customers (and children of God). And as quirky as they might have been, it’s the same reason why bell-bottom jeans and Chia Pets and Pet Rocks and Furbies made millions—-what’s a treasure is in the eye of the beholder. So, as I continue to struggle to find the perfect formula for the perfect audience, I think I’ll just stay an anonymous online shopper myself—letting those retailers keep their opinions about me where they belong —to themselves!