We all are in favor of charity, even if we do not practice any. There is no doubt that helping the less fortunate than us, not only is good for the soul by gaining extra positive karma points but also makes us feeling that we are or at least can be better persons. A very popular and fruitful way to help the poor and miserable of this world is by organizing and executing a charity bazaar. The main advantage is that all you need is space, things to sell, wrapping paper and managerial-marketing skills, combined with plenty of personal labor. Which means, that if you do it right, you do not need funding. In this spirit and without further delay, ladies and gentlemen, I present you the ten personas that you will definitely come face to face with, from both sides of the bench, as a heads up for whenever you decide to make your first charity bazaar. Or improve your next one.
- The ‘’I brought this’’.
A great deal of the merchandizing products, come from nice people who empty their houses of useless items, unwanted clothes and ugly wedding presents. Among the plethora of choices and things, the ‘’I brought this’’ will profoundly locate in the most visible selling spot, something that he/she brought, demanding to price it personally, because it is a family heirloom from the Napoleonic wars that should not be sold cheap, and randomly point it to any person available nearby, repeating over and over this catch phrase. The only way to end this useless Groundhog Day event is to give him/her the credit that is so desperately sought for.
- The “I know all about bazaars”
The most important ingredient of a successful bazaar is the physical effort that needs to be provided. Because setting, selling and unsetting it is not done by magic. Since nobody is an octopus or the goddess Kali with many hands, volunteers are called to cover this physical gap without raising the budget. The “I know all about bazaars’’ volunteers spend most of the time commenting, usually negatively. The goods are of poor quality, the prices are high and the garden is too flowery. The biggest sin of all is that they do not take their own opinion and wise ideas under consideration; hence this entire charade is doomed from the very beginning. When one of them is asked to justify the complaints, he/she has no other argument than the great experience, originating from the very first bazaar ever participated and sold Jesus a pair of sandals to walk about Jerusalem. Give these persons to do some minor work, most preferably away from all the rest.
- The “Soldier”
After the previous two paragraphs, many of you may be disappointed, but don’t lose hope! After all, most of people who leave their houses and their comfort to work hard for some days without any profit are basically good and decent persons. Anyone of them is useful in some time and some part, but first among all though is the ‘’soldier’’. Either an experienced volunteer or a strong rookie, this is the person who will execute whatever order he/she will receive. Fed with glucose and caffeine, the “soldier” can go on and on for hours non-stop, from unpacking toy giraffes to washing plates and from selling match boxes to charming the crowds. The more of them a bazaar can recruit, the bigger are the chances to thrive.
- The ‘’Artist’’
Another big part of such event is the presentation. Because, after all, the basic purpose is to sell things. And an important rule here is that the better they look, the easier the sale is. The ‘’Artist’’ is not necessarily a professional. Not that if you find one you should reject him. But usually is the person with the highest sense of fashion and level of aesthetics. So, you exclude anyone who wears black trousers with brown shoes. The ‘’Artist’’ is the one who will design the posters, set the items in such a way that will attract more attention, beautify the tables to enhance the desire of people to consume and decorate the place with elements pleasant and attractive to the eye. The only flaw is the natural passion that will sooner or later appear, in the form of moving just one object millimeters around an imaginary center. Once you harness it, you will have the extra something your bazaar needs.
- The “Collector’’
Of course, besides the volunteers who will work to make it happen, the clients are of equal and maybe even greater importance. If you have done more than an average advertising campaign, the very first people who will enter, waiting outside the closed doors long before the opening time, are those who belong to the “Collector” category. People that either as a profession or as a hobby search for small or big hidden treasures all over the country. They look like the ordinary casual clients but they have three signs though, that reveal their true nature. First, they search thoroughly for stamps and certificates of authenticity. Second, they try to diminish the value of the item they are holding, using facial expressions of disappointment. Third, they all use the same back up story that whatever they buy is of no real value but they do it to help the charitable cause. Their Achilles’ heel is the phrase: “I have the authentic package for what you hold”. They will pay handsomely, to get it.
- The ‘’Weirdo’’.
Instead of description, I will tell you a story. In a bazaar that I participated in several years ago, a silversmith had donated us many beautiful silver pieces of jewelry for sale with the request not to give them away for less than a specific price, respecting his art and their true value. One woman, wearing a hat like those put on horses to protect them from the sun stroke, examined them with the meticulousness of a coroner and wondered why the price was so much lower than the retail one. I explained her that it was the wish of the donor etc., only to receive the epic answer: “In this case, buyers should give any amount of money and take any number of pieces.” I tried to explain her that even though we are a charity bazaar, our prices are still officially subject to the law and pre-determined by a special committee, but she insisted. This triggered a very theatrical debate and at the end, I gave her 20 cents, told her to go to some other bazaar, find these silver pieces, buy one for her and one for me and return. She took the 20 cents and left. She did not return.
- The “Practical”.
One of the main reasons to do your shopping in a bazaar is the low prices. Especially in times that finance is not good, which means almost all the times. The ‘’Practical” is usually a housewife. Having the financial attributes of a high class economist, the experience of a level-A ranked manager and the loading ability of a small size truck, the ‘’Practical” will sweep any item or group of items, that will be needed for up to six months from now. She has a sweet spot for cleaning products, multi-use kitchen appliances, rolls of toilet paper and family-size air fresheners. She never forgets the presents for family and friends, especially close to big holidays such as Christmas. Master in packaging and better in shorting stuff than a Tetris champion, she usually comes with her own plastic bags and canvas totes. She pays without bargains, assorts everything herself, gives you a piece of motherly advice, congratulates everybody and goes.
- ‘’The Japanese father’’.
Ok, this one is a bit tricky, because it only applies to areas that tourists visit. Tourists are in general a good crowd for a bazaar and each has a certain characteristic. Russians buy things after discussion with each other, Americans want to know the full story of the item and Germans are interested in local drinks. But the holy grail of the bazaar customer is without a doubt the Japanese father with a young daughter. Wearing glasses and suit with tie, even in the hottest summer days, he actually escorts his daughter to her shopping spree. He brings no objection to the choice, the quantity or the necessity. His main tasks are to nod affirmatively, hold whatever his daughter byes and of course, pay. Always serious and without a single smile or anything that will reveal his feelings, his only request is the very good wrapping and he is the only type of customer that will actually tip any person helping with the bags. Even though we all do it for charity, it’s nice to be appreciated. And tipped.
- The cheapskate.
The horror, the nightmare, the Freddy Krueger of bazaars, the seven deadly sins combined in just one human being. Imagine Uncle Scrooge marrying Mr. Crab from SpongeBobSquarePants and their offspring standing in front of you. No matter how low any price is, no matter that the beautiful porcelain deer of early 19th century with market price of 100 euro is given for 50 cents, the cheapskate will ask for a discount. Not for the pleasure of the bargain, essential part of any bazaar by the way, but because he has coins instead of blood cells, running through his veins. Easily recognizable by the ridiculous arguments that include, but are not limited to: ‘’Oh no! I am 0.25 euro short,” ‘’But you are charity, you are not supposed to have profit” and my personal favorite “Yes, of course all these things cost less than 1/3 of the regular prices I pay and my joker smile shows how pleased I am, but if you do not give me an extra discount I will not take them!” Accordingly, the answers are: “Leave this, it costs exactly 0.25 cents,’’ ‘’Yes, because it makes perfect sense to help people, with loss,’’ “No, you won’t.’’
- The enthusiast.
There are people who soak up every moment of life, like it is their last. They see beauty and harmony everywhere. Even on the most rainy days, the sun above their heads always has silver lining. Perhaps these people are very annoying on Monday mornings for the rest of us who are normal, but when one of them barges in, it feels like a walking and talking billboard enters that changes the entire mood to the better. With loud voices, expressions of admiration and plenty of bravos, those who are not too warm or indecisive are lured into a small yet powerful carousel of short-time joy. Seeing someone shopping like this is absolutely the very best event in the entire galaxy, enough to give everybody a smile and make them shop more. So, show great respect and give this person a discount.