Éric’s Top 5 Convention Etiquette Pet Peeves

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Apparently I’ve never written this, although I swear I have.

Conventions are a hectic and exhausting event for those of us that sell. These are my pet peeves that clients do quite often. Most of it boils down to respect. Here they are:

5. Haggling

Conventions are a lot of work and most artists don’t do it to get rich. The money is used to go back into the art and to let us go to these events.

Most artists underprice their stuff by not including their time in the calculation of cost and profit. Be it art, hand crafts, food, etc; the artist has worked hard to figure out their price.

You can ask if they have deals, but this isn’t a flea market; don’t try to haggle down the price.

4. Blocking a table

I understand you want to chat and hang out. That’s great, but if you’re done buying or are just chatting then move to the side and let others look. You can still chat and hang out without blocking a table.

Same goes for those who want to hang out with friends, do it somewhere else. Be aware that if you’re blocking a table, others can’t get to it.

3. Selling to vendors

When someone is working on selling their own stuff there is nothing more rude or insulting than you going around trying to sell them something.

The obvious exception is food, I’m okay with that. But I don’t want your cheap ass flyers for life coaching, hotel rooms, or other bullshit. I’m there to sell coffee and crochet, not hear about how you can help me become a corporation.

2. Touching

If your hands are dirty or you’re holding food/drink, don’t touch. For the rest of the time when it comes to my coffee bags I don’t care. I have a set up the encourages you to touch and look.

For everyone else. ASK! If we had a dollar for every person who played with the crocheted items we’d pay for our table twice-over.

Not everyone has displays that are fixable or products that can handle touching. Be respectful and ask first.

1. Photos

Don’t. Just don’t take pictures unless you ask first. For those that make print art it’s the number one way to pirate their stuff. For those that make products, it’s a great way to steal designs or patterns.

If you must send someone the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, ask first. If you post it online ask first and give the artist credit.

This is the artist’s creation, don’t be a jerk. Most will be okay as long as you ask and are respectful.


In the end it just comes down to realizing that artists are there to sell and talk about their products. Respect them and their art.

Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments.

Éric

Why We Don’t Offer Brewed Coffee Part 2

Hello Coffee Lovers!

Two months ago I wrote: Why We Don’t Offer Brewed Coffee.

After having multiple discussions with people, I realized I forgot a few points.

Any schlub could go out and buy a cheap single cup coffee machine and a giant box of terrible coffee pods and sell it for $3. This fulfills the need to sell coffee and creates income. I won’t do it for 2 reasons: Quality and Reputation

Quality

We at JenEric Coffee pride ourselves on the quality of our beans, roast, and flavours. If you don’t like our coffee, it’s because of personal taste and not a deficiency in our quality. When I go to an event I expect that either the venue is selling crap coffee, or there is no coffee. When there is a coffee vendor I expect that they take a modicum of pride in what they do and have decent coffee. (Of course school and community events don’t count in this.)

If we do something, I want to do it right and legally, with all required permits and inspections.

Reputation

When you sell something you, as a small business, are judged on that. So if you have one thing that is of excellent quality and another that is horrible, you’ll be judged on the latter. You can’t, in the long run, rely on first time buyers. You need to make sure that your clients want more of what you’re selling. At this point, JenEric Coffee sells more to repeat clients than new ones, and that’s a wonderful thing. Passionate, dedicated fans are the backbone to a successful business.

If we started doing things in half-measures and didn’t take pride in our quality, we’d start losing those people.

 

I hope this helps clear up and add to my previous post.

Thank you for reading and for loving our coffee!

Éric

Blush: Consent and kids

Last week we went to a family birthday party (five celebrated at once, from the ages of 1 to 70!) and a lot of fun was had. However, it definitely brought to my attention that our daughter has no concept of personal space, boundaries, or consent.

She’s 1 years old. This is normal.

Normal it may be, but consent is something she needs to learn. And now that she’s walking and able to chase down other kids, she needs to learn it fast.

Fortunately, there are some pretty great resources to help us. I encourage everyone to read at least this guide (it’s 4 pages) if you have any children in your life, whether they belong to you, your family, or your friends.

My sister is already really great at respecting my daughter’s limits. Every time she visits, she asks “Can I pick you up?” before touching her. I know that if she ever says “no”, it will be respected.

As adults, we need to be aware that a child’s “no” to hugging, kissing, or being held, is not them casting any aspersions on our character. They’re just not in the mood to be touched, and we should respect that. Offer an alternative, like a high five, a fist bump, a blown kiss, or a simple wave.

Along a similar vein, if the child has agreed to be touched, and then wants to stop, they should be listened to.

This is all common sense, and easy to follow because we’re adults. We understand the reasoning. How do we teach it to children?

Part of teaching consent to kids is modelling it. Showing that they have agency over their own bodies is a big step to understanding that others are also to be respected.

My daughter and her cousin, whom she terrorized last week.

She walked up to the only other person her size and tried to hug them. She kept her balance (and grip) quite well as he tried to wriggle away… I feel like I dropped the ball at this point. I should have taken her aside and explained that he wasn’t interested in being held, just like she didn’t want to be held by the strangers at the party. I might not have gotten through to her, but I should have tried, multiple times if necessary.

Teaching them empathy is another part. Our daughter also pulled the his hair. He cried, understandably. But she doesn’t seem to understand that having hair pulled hurts – she does it to herself all the time, and doesn’t seem bothered by it. She thinks it’s funny when she pulls other people’s hair. I made her apologize to him (I held her while I apologized for her because she is non verbal) and told her not to pull other people’s hair. I don’t think it has sunk in yet. She pulled mine the next morning.

It’s a work in progress. Suggestions are welcome.


References

http://www.teachconsent.org

Parent Discussion Guide

https://goodmenproject.com/families/the-healthy-sex-talk-teaching-kids-consent-ages-1-21/

http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/how-to-teach-your-children-about-consent/


If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.

Valentines Day

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Today is the day of love, lovers, or overpriced chocolate.

I’ve never been a big fan of this so-called holiday. It’s a day that glorifies showing love by monetary excess or grand gestures and that’s not what love is about.

Love is about the little moments, the smiles and laughter shared between people. It’s not about spending exorbitant amounts of money on stuff or food.

Today I’ll be celebrating by hugging my wife and we’ll be going to see The Lego Batman movie.

If Valentine’s Day has you down, why not call a parent, grandparent, child, or friend and tell them you love them (Only if you do, I don’t want you lying to people).

No matter how you spend this day, remember that it’s not the size of the gesture but the love behind it.

*Important Reminder: Tomorrow (February 15th) is half-price chocolate day.*

halfprice

Later Days,

Éric

Blush: Respect

Last week, I received this anonymous question in Blush’s inbox:

Screen grab from Blush's email account blushcardgame@gmail.com
Screen grab from Blush’s email account blushcardgame@gmail.com

While this could have been funny if it was from a friend, the fact that it remains anonymous sets off a seriously creepy vibe. I also feel disrespected and upset.
One of the reasons I created the game Blush is to open the conversation about sex. Make it less taboo to talk about, and to normalize conversations about topics that may seem, to some people, awkward and uncomfortable. Topics like LGBT and transgender issues will be less mysterious.

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown”
H.P. Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror in Literature

Sex, gender, and all the other topics that are covered in Blush should not be unknown! Maybe I’m extrapolating, but I feel like if people understood and respected one another a little bit better, we won’t have to live through another massacre like that in Orlando on June 12, 2016.

“[…]We lived through times when hate and fear seemed stronger;
We rise and fall and light from dying embers
Remembrances that hope and love last longer
And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside. […]”
Lin-Manuel Miranda at the 2016 Tony Awards

June 12 was our anniversary (seven years this year!), and I spent a lot of time on that day thinking about how privileged we are; to live in Canada, to be in a “socially accepted relationship”, to be alive, to be allowed to love. And yet, I receive messages like the one above. Granted, that message is TAME. I feel fortunate that whoever it was only went that far. But would they have said that over the phone? If I knew who they were? The internet allows a certain level of anonymity that makes people feel as though they can say whatever they want with no repercussions. Sure, this person won’t know how uncomfortable they made me feel (unless they read this), but that doesn’t mean that someone didn’t get hurt.

I hope that people treat each other with more respect soon. I hope that I’m bringing our daughter into a world that respects and loves and cares about all human life, no matter who they love, what they look like, or where they come from.

As for what I’m wearing right now? Clothing.


P.S. If one of my friends did send me that message as a joke, please let me know so that I can stop worrying about it! I won’t be mad at you.

If Men are from Mars and Women from Venus why are we on Earth?

Hello,

I read this article titled, “My Wife Divorced Me Because I Left The Dishes By The Sink”

The article

I was going to share it on facebook, tag my wife and say, “Should I be worried?” Then I thought about it and it made me uncomfortable. Angry even.

If you don’t want to read the article, let me sum it up: Men and Women think differently and what’s not a big deal for you (cave)men, might be a big deal for your wife.

The message

The overall message seems to be: Listen to your partner and if they want you to do (or stop doing) something because it bothers them, you should listen to them.

In other words: Respect your partner enough to listen to them!

The Sexism

Beyond the message, however, I dislike everything about the article. It makes assumptions that are so sexist I had to make sure it wasn’t written in the 1950’s.

In the author’s world:

  • ALL women clean and take care of the house,
  • ALL men work outside the house,
  • ALL women are too passive to tell their husbands how they feel and will nag instead of telling them,
  • ALL men are too stupid to realize that by ignoring what your partner wants you’re disrespecting them and making them feel like shit.
  • That lack of communication only affects Cis-Gendered romantic relationships.

My Advice

I feel like I need to put my credentials before I give advice.

Credentials

  • I have a degree in communications and took multiple interpersonal communication classes,
  • I was raised by a single mother who worked as a social worker in a women’s shelter (among other jobs),
  • I’ve written 5.8 books, two of which are going to be published (Yeah I know that has nothing to do with it but I’m proud and excited),
  • Finally, I’ve been married for nearly 7 years (6 years 7 months and 16 days).

You only need three things

To be happy in a relationship you need three things and this isn’t anything new. You need Communication, Empathy, and Compromise.

That list may seem simple and common sense but nothing is easy when emotion takes over. You have to find a way to get to what you really want instead of getting angry or defensive.

Your significant other is a person, not a cartoon stereotype, if they’re getting upset there’s a reason and you should pay attention to it and, if it’s your fault, fix it.

Planets

Bet you thought I wouldn’t get back to the title right?

No matter what shape your relationship takes (Poly, Straight, Same-sex, etc.), you and your partner will always seem to be from other planets. People are different! The way they were raised, their experiences, their traumas, and their way of thinking are always going to be different. You have to accept that no matter how much you have in common, you’re completely separate people.

In that way, you can easily say you are from Mars and your partner is from Venus. You are as different as you are the same and that’s why we’re on Earth. It’s in between the two and represents the best compromise.

Find common ground and find compromise, you’re in a relationship not a dictatorship. The term Partner isn’t just to be inclusive, it represents what a truly good relationships is about being equal partners who share in the blame and the joy of life together.

Common Ground

Serial Story

We’re down to two stories left.

Read the ending from the stories and vote on your favourite. The poll will be open until Tuesday the 2nd at 11:59pm

Serial Story 2016 - Last Round

  • Wargrave Island (50%, 3 Votes)
  • The Ruby Child (50%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 6

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Wargrave Island

Genre: Murder Mystery
Inspiration: And Then There Were None, Sherlock Holmes

Read the Beginning

[…]

“What happened?” asked Jonathan, drunkenly staggering towards them, trying to get to the boat.

“What’s in there?” asked Zoe, who was followed by the rest of the party guests who must have seen the fire.

Riko tried to keep them back, but Jonathan made it past her and yelled, “Oh shit, there’s a dead body in there!”

The Ruby Child

Genre: Fantasy Adventure
Inspiration: Firefly, Eberron

Read the Beginning

[…]

As he watched, in complete amazement, the ruby transformed into a baby with glowing crimson hair. The infant gave a tiny giggle and opened its eyes. He expected red eyes, but was surprised to see little clones of his own dark green eyes staring back at him.

“Oh Boy,” he repeated.

 

What do you think of the article?

Éric