There is a lot of planning that goes into each show. I have too much stuff and can’t take it all to each show. So, I’m always trying to figure out what to bring to each show.
At the July Orland show, I did not sell much out of my display cases and initially thought I would not bring any display cases to the August show, just binders. Then I received a text from one of my “wipe-out artists,” which is someone who buys much the cards in my binders, pretty much wiping them out. It is nice to have a big sale from a wipe-out artist but they leave my binders empty which is a problem when I have a show the next week. I have a hard enough time keeping the binders loaded and the wipe-out artists set me back that much further.
To combat said wipe-out artist, I contemplated not bringing out any binders and just display cases. I went back and forth all week prior to the show trying to figure out what to bring. The night before the show, I decided I would bring out four display cases and most of my baseball binders. This particular wipe-out artists, likes to wipe out my football and hockey binders and I figured I would protect those ones this time around.
I woke up a little later than usual on Sunday morning and hustled to load my car. I was on the road around 7:15 a.m. The rain hit around O’Hare and I had to slow down to about 40MPH because visibility was terrible. It was some scary driving. It was raining so hard I could not see the road and could barely see the cars in front of me. When a truck shot gallons upon gallons of water onto my windshield I decided it would be best to get off the highway and take the regular roads.
I hopped off at Cermak and drove east, figuring I would hit LaGrange Road. I found Wolf Road and drove it south until it ended in some random neighborhood. I had to backtrack. I then found Route 171 which I thought turned into LaGrange. It was actually Archer Avenue and took me way west to Lockport where I figured out I needed to be much further east. In the Lockport the rain came back hard and I parked until it lightened up.
While I sat parked, I figured I would use the GPS on my phone to lead me to Orland Park. No such luck. My phone would not work! It was locked and would not do anything. I couldn't even shut it off. I then started to think that maybe I should just go home but realized I was in Lockport, Illinois, for the first time in my life and had no idea how to get home. I ventured on.
I took the next road east and drove through farm after farm. I had no idea that Lockport was farmland. Stuck in farmland, I lost my sense of direction and wasn’t sure if I was heading east or west. I saw that addresses on the farms were getting smaller so I figured I was heading east.
I eventually found Orland Park through the back door and made it to the show around 9 a.m. This was my longest ride ever to Orland. As luck would have it, it was raining cats and dogs when I pulled into the Civic Center parking lot. I decided I would just bring in my bins of binders and leave the showcases in the car. It was raining too hard to pull the showcases out.
I exited the vehicle, pulled out five bins then my cart and received a thorough soaking. By the time I made into the Civic Center, water had pooled on top of my bins. I dumped some of the water out. I was a dripping wet mass of liquid as I traversed the Civic Center. At my tables, I grabbed a garbage can and dumped what seemed like gallons of water into it from the tops of the bins. I left quite a bit of water on the floor, my tables and chairs. I’m thankful nobody slipped in the water.
I was the last dealer to arrive. It looked like everyone made it into the show before the rain…. but me. I then spread the binders out onto the tables. I had a lot of empty space since I did not bring in the showcases.
After set up, I sat there sopping wet. It seemed like the air conditioning was cranked and I was wet then freezing cold. My clothes were sopping. I pulled out a wad of cash that was soaked. I pulled out my wallet, it was soaked. My shoes and socks were soaked. I was freezing.
Surprisingly, there were a lot of dealers and a good number of customers. Sales started off slow and I did not expect them to get any better because the rain continued. Then Will and Joe arrived with a hot cup of coffee. Man, I was thankful. I really needed that coffee. As I warmed up from the coffee, sales started to jump and kept jumping for hours. I ended up having a monster day. There was not one, but several wipe-out artists. My binders got hit hard but I went home with a pocket full of wet cash.
Paul lent me a hoody which saved me from shivering all day. Thanks Paul! It was nice and sunny by the time I was on the road home and found my way without getting lost. The only bummer was that many of my baseball binders are now empty.
Next up is my show at the Salvation Army in Oak Creek, WI, on Sept. 7. I have no idea what to bring out for this show. The baseball binders from 1964 on back are about empty. I may just bring out my football binders and some showcases. I have a couple weeks to figure this one out. I sure hope it doesn’t rain on Sept. 7!!