I was thinking that you all might be thinking, my, this show thing sound so glamorous, exciting and fun. Maybe at first it is, but after a while - like 10 years or more - it's not as great as it sounds. It's kind of long, kind of hard, and like anything else you do over and over and over and over, gets to be a routine. It HAS to be. Because if you don't get your routine down, you are a flailing stresscase mess.
So along those lines, I decided to make a short list of absolute essentials for surviving a show weekend. The first one is:
1. Change your shoes. You might think you have the bestest, most comfortable pair of shoes on the planet. But believe me, after the first 12 to 15 hours of standing in them on the pavement, they are not your friends any more. And if you decide to wear them again on day 2, they will begin to bite back before you even get out of the car. It's essential to wear a completely different pair of shoes each day. Just to move the stresspoints around and have a little less pain. Like one day your heels are rubbing raw. The next day it's pinching your toe. Like that.
2. Bring handiwipes. Money is dirty. And your visitors are frequently busy slurping and eating while wandering through the booths. Setting dripping coffee cups down. Or children covered in ice cream are busily feeling up your goods. Shave ice. Barbeque fingers. Saucy things on sticks. All those things come to visit your booth. Plus the constant onslaught of dust and road dirt. Your only bathroom option is a Honey Bucket which has been traversed by eleventy billion other rear ends. You will want to wipe up with some sort of cleaning and sanitizing type wipey thing during the course of your stay there. A must.
3. Water. Snacks and beverages are really nice too. Especially if you are working alone. A dust bunny flies in while you're extolling the virtues of your fabulous wares. And lodges in your throat. If you haven't brought along water, you will expire in front of the guests. And dehydration is lurking all the time. At the end of a long day, if you've forsaken the water, you will feel like a truck has run over you and the next day or two will be much more painful. Drink water regularly, even though it will force you to run off and use the facilities. Your health is more important than the possible sale you might have lost during that two minutes of time.
4. Lip gloss. Well, maybe this is just me. I never go anywhere without it. I cannot stand dry lips and have to re-apply every hour. But it makes you look more professional and happy too. So there. I hear if you put a little clear stuff on your teeth that it enables a constant, pearly white smile. Which is also good for business. So if you skip the lip gloss - at least keep the smile.
5. Sweater, jacket, socks. Warm stuff. Unless you are one of those guys who wears shorts even in winter, then you're highly likely to feel cold at some point over the day. At least if you're in this area - Mississippi show goers can move on. But here, it's chilly in the early mornings, or breezy and cool in the evenings, and it's so much harder to be friendly and happy if you've got the chills, goose flesh, and are shaking. It may feel warm in the 10 seconds it takes to get yourself into the car at home. But once you've driven an hour, and reached some small island town, or convergence zone location, it's drizzly and freezing, and it's still 8am. You'll want to marry that jacket. It might be 78 in the afternoon, but it's darn tootin' cold in the morning. Or it starts out nice and then by evening when you've got another couple of hours to go, the wind kicked up and it's really chilly. Put on the sweater and socks. The cold just makes you tired and cranky, so best be prepared.
6. Finally, on day 3 a greasy breakfast is essential. Your adrenaline tank is on empty. Everything is tired and hurts. You just want to get through the day and get it over with. Eat something with grease and protein first thing. An egg mcmuffin is often enough, as long as there is protein and grease and it's warm. A solo cup of coffee or a little sugary donut or pastry on this final day will just not cut it.
That's my top 6. I'm sure I've missed something essential, like push pins and duct tape. But you can figure those out on your own, if you ever decide to try this kind of madness.