Monday, June 27, 2016

On Working at The Merch Table (and learning to use a card reader)

Hey, everybody! Can't believe June is coming to an end. I'm not too excited for the hot weather, but I'll survive. ;-) This past month has been pretty busy and crazy, in a good way, and I really want to share one particular day I had this month.

I worked at the merch table for a band in our city recently, and that was a great experience! One of the band members showed me how to work the credit card reader, shook my hand, thanked me for helping out, and left to get ready for the show. So, there I was, standing at the table, all by myself. I felt pretty awesome. A few people came by pre-show to buy CDs, and I got the hang of the card reader and counting change. After the show started, I was allowed to sit in on the show, provided I returned to the table just before intermission. It was a really cool concert, let me tell you! The band was like Piano Guys minus the piano. I ended up buying a couple of their CDs after the show, and they signed them for me. :-)

However, during intermission, I got back to the table, and I look up and all of a sudden there is a HUGE line of people in front of me. I'd memorized the "spiel," so when they asked me how much the CDs were, I'd say "Well, these 2 are $12 each, this one's $15, BUT we have a great deal - if you buy 2 CDs, it's $20; if you buy 3, it's $30." Most of the time, they raised their eyebrows in surprise and proceeded to buy 2 or 3. A pair of girls slightly older than me got to the table, picked up one of the CDs and shrieked, "Oh my goodness! Taylor Swift's on this one! We have got to get this one!" Then they glanced up at me, and I'm hiding a grin because I have no idea why they're so excited about Taylor Swift. "How much is this?" Proceed with spiel. Met with "Oh man! We can get two of them now! Which one?! Oh, this one! Yeah! It's got (name of song I've never heard before) on it! Yeah, we'll take these two!"

So, yeah, that was pretty entertaining to watch. And I upsold 'em. *mischievous laugh* ;-D I had no idea I was such a good salesgirl.

Then it got crazy. I mean crazy. I told you there was a huge line. And that I was all by myself. So here I was, sliding cards and taking cash and handing out change and shooting out the deal we had and answering questions and...Well, I was not prepared for so many people all at once. I have a new appreciation for the people at the merchandise tables at the concerts I go to.

Well, I got another volunteer to help me out, and together, we sold a bunch of CDs. It was a bit less hectic, although the card reader misbehaved quite a few times and some people had to pay cash (we did a little happy dance every time a credit card went through the first time!). After the concert, the band members sat at the table beside us to sign CDs, so that was a huge rush too. Everyone wanted to buy a CD (and 9 times out of 10, they ended up with 2 or 3). It was like a flood. It was loud. It was crazy. But we sold albums like nobody's business.

I'm really introverted, so that whole experience was pretty overwhelming for a while. I had to actually talk to hundreds of people. That was a feat in and of itself. I had to smile happily when the card reader didn't want to work, though inside I was going crazy hoping they wouldn't get upset at me. I had to count out change (we had to break a lot of bills, which was a bit annoying - I wondered how people could have such huge bills and not a single 10 or 20.) - and sometimes I counted twice since I didn't want to shortchange anyone. Thank goodness I didn't.

So, I had to overcome that whole thing. After the concert-goers had had their CDs bought and signed, I leaned over and told the other volunteer, "Hey, let's buy our CDs from each other!" So, I gave her the spiel and she bought two and I swiped her card and we laughed out loud since the card actually went through. Then she turned and gave me the spiel and I bought two and she counted out the cash and stuffed it into the bag, zipped it up. Then we went around the table, grinning from ear to ear, and the band members signed our CDs and thanked us for helping out. We shook hands, took each other's picture with them. Then they packed up their instruments, thanked us one more time, and left the venue.

And I was exhausted, let me tell you! I couldn't believe how many CDs we'd sold that night! And how many people there were! And how awesome it was that, as simple as it was, the band member taught me how to use a card reader. So, I went home a couple hours later, very happy and very tired.

But if you asked me to work the merch table at a concert, I'd do it again.

Even if the card reader misbehaved.

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