It wasn’t until my third day at the California Gift Show that we realized there was an entire floor we’d missed in our ‘see everything in a day’ sweep. In true Morsel form, we’d gone in with a plan, and a whimsical hope of not missing a thing. The first day, sweeping the entire market in a day and making notes of where we wanted to re-visit and what we wanted to buy. Each subsequent day, strategizing our trips between locations, who would be in for negotiations, when prices would get slashed, where we wanted to invest the bulk of our budget, etc. So on the last day of market when prices are to be slashed and it turns into more of a bargaining peeing contest, we walk in and realize there was an entire floor that we hadn’t swept.
My friend’s response; we’ll call her my personal slave, who had accompanied me on the first few days, when I text her to inform her of her mishap, read “oh awesome!,” clearly missing the point entirely.
By this time, the personal slave was gone and my DH had joined me for the last day of fun bargaining and buying. Having missed an entire floor in our planning and now having to include a sweep on this last day was like a death-sentence to him. So, we purchased our $7 bottles of water, and our $10 sandwiches and went to work.
Mind you, I’ve only ever dealt with independent artisans, so the market experience was brand new to me. At least by the third day, I wasn’t getting run over in the halls by the older, more experienced buyers and designers that sighed with impatience and contempt when I asked them how to get somewhere, like a freshman in high school asking for directions to biology class in room 101-B. Much to our good fortune, we’d only missed a little bit on that phantom floor, since most of it was apparel and jewelry. We were able to sweep that floor quickly and get back on track. What I really want to share is one of the single funniest moments in our relationship yet, that occurred that day.
Much like visiting Six Flags, or Disney World, or an all-day travel extravaganza with kids in tow, going to market is taxing and overwhelming even for the most prepared. Somehow, even the coolest, most cultured of us patrons wish we had a fanny-pack by the end of the day to carry our stuff in. Or one of these:
For our last stop, we were back in a stall where we had purchased a few bowls and tables, and had them on hold. That’s when the bargaining began. We decided that rather than having an entire shipment sent, we should clean them out of all inventory right there and load it in our own truck. So it was a regular auction, with wheeling and dealing and shouting (the part my DH had come for, after all.) So before I know it, we have purchased nearly a truckload of items with no hand-truck/cart/personal slave to help us get it to our car….which was a mile’s walk away, in a cool heat-wave of 101 degrees outside. And, by this hour in the afternoon with our failing energy levels, we were carrying Starbucks. The next half-hour went like this:
“How are we going to get all of this to the car? Do you think they have carts we can use?”
“I doubt it.”
“Well maybe you could help me to the door with it, and go get the car and bring it around. I’m sure they let people load up in the zone, since lots of people do last-day buying.”
“No, we can make it. I’ll get these,” (in one arm about 10 bags of heavy bowls, and in the other a solid wood end-table) “and you get those.” (my pull-behind suitcase with an end-table balanced on top, and in the other hand a few heavy bags hanging on my arm….and Starbucks.)
A few minutes later….
“let’s at least take the elevator so we don’t ding all of the product…”
“ok. Hurry it’s closing.”
“I can’t hurry, I’m carrying coffee.”
…he strains to hit the elevator button, wobbling and grunting toward the door
“Did you hit the right floor? This is going up.”
“I hit LL. Ugh, why didn’t I trash this coffee.”
…now, as I wobble my way out of the elevator, coffee and bags in one hand, and an end table on my suitcase in the other…the wheel to what was supposed to be my handy-dandy pull-behind gets caught in the groove of the elevator floor. Much like an animal with its foot caught in a snare, I struggle. I tried, but no cigar. I was stuck. One, one thousand. Two, one thousand. Three, one thousand. Four, one thousand. Five, one thousand. Six, one thousand. Ding ding ding ding…the doors are closing on me. I can’t move.
“What!? I can’t get out! The wheel is stuck!”
…now he tries a more patient tone: “Just. Here. Bend your knees, and back in, suitcase in front.”
“I tried that.”
“Well, try again.”
…eventually I caught myself free and we were back to the mile-long race to the car. Keep in mind, my suitcase is giving out because those bars aren’t supposed to carry home décor on them. As we walk outside and make our way to the cross-walk…sweating and huffing and now, regretting that we hadn’t just brought the goods to the curb, no free hands whatsoever, with escalating tempers…
“Hey ma’am..can you spare some change?”
“I can’t exactly get to my pockets right now. As you can see I’m slightly…engaged.”
“Please? I know you have it…Sir! Got any change? I take American Express Ha ha ha!”
“Don’t have it, dude!”
“Oh, come on. What is the world coming to! A man can’t even spare some change anymore!”
…with shock and dismay at the nerve of this guy, we find a way to shake our heads (not too much of course because in our scenario, balance is everything) as the crosswalk light turns, the entire time thinking ‘don’t break now on me suitcase, not here. Not now, right here in the middle of downtown LA…’ In the meantime…the DH has passed me by and is now running/fast-walking. We now officially look as though we have robbed someone blind, running with so much stuff in our arms.
“Since when is LA so friggin hot!?”
“I can’t talk right now!”
“You don’t have to snap at me!”
“My arm is falling off!”
…and here’s the funny part…as we carefully weave through the cars in the enormous parking lot…
…I stop. My jaw drops. He’s still walking. I mosey my way over to examine the damage, which was much more inconsequential than it sounded; not even a scratch on the paint. I look back up at him, and he’s not stopped. I realize that to stand there too long might imply guilt, so I start walking too, not looking back. When I finally reach him…
“Did you happen to notice what you just did to that car?”
(bent over panting and sweating…) “Yup.”
“Well I checked it out, and it’s not that bad in case you were curious.”
…in the car, with the A/C blowing in our faces like dogs…
“We should have pulled the car around.”
“You know what you would have done if someone had done that to your car?”
The next showroom we visited was serving wine.
“Would you like some wine while you shop?”
A collective “Yup.”
Following our time at market, we took a trip to Santa Barbara, aka Paradise, and I’ve posted a few pics of the beauty. The website for my design-finds, market-finds and web-store will be up soon. In the meantime, if you need to contact me regarding design or décor, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the pics!