The verdict on the Newmarket show

The verdict on the Newmarket reptile show, where we peddled our wares on Saturday: “rather weak”. Crowds were light and for some vendors sales were even lighter. Some (like us) didn’t sell anything, though others were luckier.

In fact, some vendors left partway through, presumably fed up with the light crowds. But I’ve been to enough of the smaller shows (i.e., not Grant’s) to know that small crowds, heavily weighted towards local curiosity seekers rather than serious reptile buyers, are to be expected. In any event, the lack of a crush made it less hectic and more pleasant.

More problematic, though, was that many people were apparently not aware of the show. For some, the first they heard of it was when I mentioned it in passing. It’s a problem if hobbyists aren’t aware of it, because hobbyists are the buyers. From the organizer’s perspective, a local curiosity seeker’s $5 is just as good as the hobbyist’s $5 — but from the vendor’s perspective, it’s the hobbyist who buys the wares.

Though that may not have been the case here, vendors would have every right to be pissed if an organizer marketed the show to vendors as a place to sell reptiles, and to the general public as a place to see and touch (but not buy) reptiles. Were that the case, vendors would stay away from the next show in droves. As I’ve said ruefully on more than one occasion, we’re not paying for the privilege of running a petting zoo.

The impromptu auction at the end of the show offended plenty of vendors, too. So did the presence of a table selling Burmese and Reticulated Pythons — they may have been legal in Newmarket, but it wasn’t prudent of Nadia to allow them.

I suspect that few vendors from this show will be back. Sales are tough enough at Grant’s show that they can’t afford to spend the money to attend another.

But at least it wasn’t a total waste of time for us. Losses were minimized by our sharing a table with Denise and doing the trip there and back in one day (as we did last week at Grant’s show), though that really, really wore me out.

And we picked up three new snakes that Jen could not resist: a male Bullsnake (to pair up with our female); a young Great Plains Rat Snake; and a Trinket Snake — a tame little snake from India. At least two vendors, then, made back their table fees thanks to us. And we suddenly had a reason for coming down — by being buyers rather than sellers.