Mean Lady

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When Mr. Carolina and I left Milton and his community, we really didn’t have anywhere to go. Mt. Shasta had been the light at the end of our tunnel of plans. Since neither of us wanted to spend a cold winter in Northern California, we knew we had to hit the road and head south.

After bidding adieu to friends old and new, our first order of business was to get some fuel in the van’s tank. The few dollars worth of gasoline Milton had put in two days before was nearly gone from the driving from the camping spot to the church with the community dinner, back to the camping spot, back to the church for the clothing giveaway, and to the camping spot again.

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I made these hemp bracelets with malachite stones. These are not the bracelets I was trying to sell in Mt. Shasta. These bracelets are no longer available because they have all been sold.

Since Mt. Shasta is a woo-woo little hippy town with shops selling crystals and new-age books and jewelry, I thought I might be able to sell some of the hemp bracelets with healing stones that I’d made. I decided to walk from store to store on the town’s short main drag of local businesses and try to make some money for us.

I went into several stores. Nobody was buying. Oh, the people in the shops liked my bracelets, but they all had reasons they couldn’t buy: the busy tourist seasons was over; the person authorized to buy wasn’t in; my jewelry didn’t fit with the other inventory in a particular store. Everyone was really nice, but I was getting discouraged.

I hadn’t given up, though, and I walked into yet another shop selling shiny rocks and angel figurines and books on spirituality. An older woman, plump with long grey hair, was sitting at a desk at the back of the store. I walked up to her and explained I wanted to sell bracelets I’d made so I could buy gas for my van and get out of town. I told her the bracelets were made from hemp and showed her that each one sported a healing stone. I told her the name of the stone on each bracelet and showed her how the slip knot clasps on the bracelets worked. She wasn’t super encouraging and didn’t even smile at me as I went through my spiel, but when I paused for breath, she asked how much I wanted for the bracelets, which was farther than I’d gotten with any of the other shopkeepers.

I explained I usually sold the bracelets for $4 each or three for $10, but since I really needed gas money, I’d sell them to her for $2 each. I felt a little sad to sell the bracelets off so cheaply, but I wanted to contribute to our getting out of town. Besides, I had more hemp and drilled stones, so I could make more bracelets.

The store owner’s attitude wasn’t making me feel any better. She acted as if she didn’t really like my bracelets much at all. She acted as if she were doing me a huge favor by taking the bracelets off my hands. In a way, she was doing me a favor, but I knew she was going to sell the fruits of my labor at a profit.

The shopkeeper picked out sixteen bracelets she wanted to buy. I was ecstatic! She asked me if she could write me a check. I explained again that I needed the money to put gas in the van, told her that I wasn’t from Mt. Shasta and didn’t have a bank account, so I really needed cash. She acted entirely put out, but rounded up $32 in paper currency for me.

I was feeling really good. Not only had I earned enough money to get us out of town, I’d found someone who liked my work enough to pay me for it and sell it in her shop. I was all smiles when I reached into my pocket and pulled out one of my business cards. (Yes, it’s true, I was living dirty and broke in my van, but I had business cards to hand out.) I want to give you this, I said to the woman as I thrust the card at her.

I don’t want that, she all but sneered at me. It’s not like I’m going to order anything from you.

My bubble was burst. It was all I could do not to cry as I took my money and left the shop.

I tried to sell the remaining bracelets at a few more stores, but no one was buying. We used some of my earnings to buy a fast food lunch and put the rest in the gas tank before we headed on out of town.

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I made these bracelets from hemp. The stones are turquoise. These are not the bracelets I tried to sell in Mt. Shasta. These bracelets are no longer available because they have all been sold.

 

I took all of the photos in this post.

About Blaize Sun

I live in my van, which makes me a rubber tramp. I like to see places I've never seen before, and I like to visit the places I love again and again. I like to play with color. I make collages and hemp jewelry and cheerful winter hats. I take photographs and (sometimes, not in a long time) write poetry. All of those things make me an artist. Although I like to spread joy and to make people laugh, my wit can be sharp. I try to stay positives in all situations, to find the goodness in all people. But I often feel compelled to point out bullshit when I smell it. I like to have fun, to dance, to eat yummy food, to sit by a fire and share stories. I want to know what people hold dear and important, not just make surface small talk. This blog is a way for me to share stories. This blog is made up of my stories, rants, and observations, as well as my photographs.

15 Responses »

  1. Dang, Mt Shasta Mean Lady. The things artists have to go thru to hustle their art. Hope you gained something other than gas money from the experience.

    • You’d think a person with a business catering to spirituality needs would have been a bit kinder, but I guess not.

      I’m not sure what I gained other than gas money. The realization that even woowoo people can be jerks? The realization that maybe a person isn’t spiritual just because she owns a store that sells items for one’s “spiritual journey”? I’d like to say at that moment I learned to let the negativity of other people roll right off me, but that’s a lesson I’m still working on.

      After I left the mean lady’s store, I went to a rock shop where the people working were really nice to me. I didn’t sell any bracelets there (hemp didn’t seem like a good fit with their other merchandise), but just having them be nice to me made me feel a lot better.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Andrea.

  2. I guess some people like to burst the bubbles of others…..I’ve run into them in my world too….I try to avoid them but it’s not possible. Fortunately there are more of bubble blowers out there……love to you my friend…….

  3. oh i am disgusted to read about these assholes, yes they are assholes. As an artist who has sold her work since 1984 I have encountered many a screaming a-hole and wept many tears. If you can, find some flea markets and such to sell your lovely work, wear your stuff and sell it off your body – I have had folks buy the earrings right off my ears! But I hate shop owners. If you can, set up an ETSY shop or use another online venue. Use paypal and go for the gold! Your work is lovely and an online venue, if you don’t already have one, would be great. I apologize in behalf of the assholes who don’t know they are assholes – be of good cheer and know your readers support you!

    • Thank you, Ruth. Your sweet comments really made my day.

      Yes, some people are jerks. I don’t know if they do it on purpose or just don’t realize they are being mean. I am getting better at letting it slide over me and not taking on the negativity of others, but it is a constant struggle.

      I don’t currently have an Etsy shop or other online store, although I do post items on my Facebook page from time to time. I’ve hesitated to set up an online store because I am sometimes away from internet access for weeks at a time. I do have PayPal, however, and I do take orders from folks who contact me through the blog or through Facebook.

      Thank yo for reading and commenting.

      • I am glad you have a paypal account! I once read about a gal who did beadwork and lived out of her van. She said “I go everywhere decked out like a Christmas tree, and people just come over and ask me about my jewelry – that ‘s how I sell it!” I thought that was fantastic and followed her advice. Adorn yourself with your creations and keep them close to you in your travels! Most of us would rather buy from individuals selling their work than marked up imports. Trust your work, it is so unique!

  4. Awwwe, Blaze, so sorry to hear that you were treated with such disdain! I learned a few decades ago that the people who put themselves out as “spiritual/religious” are actually the ones to stay away from. The meek, kind souls don’t need to flaunt their spirituality. Blessings to you my friend!

    • Thank you for this wisdom. I agree that truly spiritual (and truly generous and truly kind) folks don’t need to make a big deal about what they do or what they believe. I hope the mean lady is in a better state of mind than she was when I met her.

      I appreciate you reading my blog.

  5. Wow. Tough story. I’m impressed with your ability to deal with people who have hang ups about this and that. Your hemp tourquoise bracelettes pictured are beautiful! I’d buy those!!!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Ernest, both about my jewelry and about my ability to deal with people.

      Yes, those turquoise hemp bracelets were very popular and sold quickly. I’ll let you know if I ever run into a good price on turquoise beads again and make more bracelets like those.

      Thanks for reading.

  6. Well, I love the bracelets and would love to buy a couple. Wish I had a store and I would stock up. Do you have any brownish beaded necklaces available?

    • Thanks for the kind words about my bracelets, Val. If you had a store, I would give you a really good deal so you could afford to stock up on my them! Those bracelets with malachite and turquoise stones went really fast, but I have other bracelets with healing stones, skulls, snake bones, peace signs, and other assorted beads and baubles. Let me know if you are interested in bracelets with any of those decorations.

      I’ll PM you on Facebook with some photos of different necklaces I have available, or maybe I could do something custom for you.

  7. That is a really sad story. I mean, it’s good some people were nice, and it’s good you had something to sell to get food and gas. It worked out. But how come some people got to be jerks? She could have said all the same things in a nicer way (“Oh, you keep that card for someone else!” would have worked just as well and not been nearly so mean spirited), and it wouldn’t have costed her anything. I wish we could figure out how to communicate and be kinder to one another. Also, I see you are willing to take custom orders; that’s cool. 🙂

    • Midge, thanks for understanding how the mean lady made me sad. Yes, she could have said what she wanted to say in a much nicer way. I don’t know how to make sense of people. I do my best to be nice, but I know I fail too many times. Maybe she was just having a bad day and wishes she had been nicer. I will try to think about her next time I am about to be mean to someone.

      Thanks for your comments.

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