Behind the scenes of market day
So it’s market day again – 5th one for the month. I am exhausted.
My market set up starts the day before. Pack boxes, check float, go to the bank, check my sales signs, pack car, check weather report, pack food and drinks, set alarm, TRY and go to bed early.
The alarm sounds at 4.55 AM, it’s a real shock but also a buzz of excitement as I get to meet new customers, new stalls, new stallholders next to me and check out some awesome handmade and quirky gifts.
After my shower, I can’t eat breakfast as it is too early to eat, I grab a up and go and have that for the next 1 hour and 45 minute trip ahead of me in the thick heavy fog. I grab my bags and head out the door at 5.45 AM, desperately trying not to wake my kids. Today I have Red Hot Chili Peppers to listen to as my choice of get me going music.
It’s foggy – very thick and a tad scary as I cannot see anything plus I am on early morning wildlife watch crossing the road in front of me. It’s morning’s like this I do not like. As I drive along I double check in my head if I have everything- stock, float, tent, tables.
I finally arrive at the school grounds where the markets are being held today. All the stall holders have to wait in line in their cars – we are not allowed in any earlier than 7AM. Today I was waiting for 15 mins just to get in the gate. Only one way in and one way out. I am greeted at the gate by “Jenny” who is the coordinator, she is lovely and she tells me I am at the bottom of the grounds which pleases me as it’s a better spot than last month.
I get my stall spot and I am happy – flat, on concrete and a undercover table behind me and in front of children’s play equipment. There is a real buzz in the air, I say hello to the stall holders next to me and introduce myself – there is always a moment when we unpack our boxes that you hope the person next to isn’t selling the same as you. We unpack our cars quickly to let more cars in and plus with this market we have to park 500 metres away and walk back. It’s7.30AM and I have a huge day ahead of me as this market goes until 3PM, it’s the setting up and packing away that takes a long time. It’s now 9am and my stall is set up and I’m really happy with how it looks, every stall I do is different. BUT it is starting to rain – not a little shower – a lot of heavy rain. Stall holders scramble to cover the tables and the stock, I’m ok as my tent is up and I don’t have anything out. I can see the look of terror in the stall holders face as they are unsure to stay or go. It lasts for about 10 mins.
Now I can see some kids around, the retirees and young mums out running have already been through but they will be back after breakfast. The kids coming running up to my stall and check out my wooden toys and with squeals of delight and “Mummy Mummy I want this, can I have it pleaseeeeee”. It gives me real joy to see the look of the children’s face to get so excited about my range of wooden toys. Lots more parents arrive with their kids and have now bought the grandparents along too. The grandparents take it all in and I can see them thinking “oh I had this when I was a child”, “are you hear every month” they ask, I know they have seen something they like but want to buy it a bit closer to Christmas.
It’s now 1.30PM and I am starving and needing a break. That’s the hardest thing about doing to the market by yourself – you don’t get a decent break. I don’t like leaving my next door neighbour having to look after my stall, but I do, I have no choice. They lovely couple next to selling Greek spices are quick to tell me to go and have a break, they know what to do.
The market is starting to look thinner, some stalls have already packed up and are leaving. I like to stay right to the end. It’s amazing how many last minute sales I get whist packing up. 3PM ticks over and I count my float – I am way off what I like to make at the markets but for some reason the market scenes have been on the quiet side. I start to pack up, it’s starting to get cold and I can hardly stand as I have been on my feet all day. I still need to walk 500 metres to get my car. Once I arrive back I can pack it all away, hopefully the same way so it all fits, but as I sit in the car seat I realise just how knackered I really am but I still have to drive 1 hour and 45 mins home.
I arrive home in the dark, the same way I left 12 hours ago. It’s now 6.15PM and I can hardly get out, my hubby greets me at the garage door and helps to unload my car and put my kids car seats back in. My eldest has a huge hug for me and asks how my day was and how much money I made “Enough to pay a bill sweetheart” I say.