For someone without a full-time job, I certainly keep my Outlook calendar packed. My god. So, last Saturday was the Hu & Hu event slash book swap. Was a major disappointment. Part of the problem was I set my expectations too high. I get burned every time that way. Saturday morning, I got up super early and headed way out west to the boondocks to set up my AAF table at essentially what was this huge antique warehouse (in other words, the place was FREEZING cold). Took craploads of animal paraphernalia– t-shirts, scarves, holiday cards, postcards, stuffed animals, keychains, plus tons of brochures. How many items did I sell? Three. Yup, for 5 frickin’ hours! Total money raised? 300 RMB. See what I mean? Totally depressing. Clearly, I lack the skills and charm of a salesperson.
Meanwhile, turnout was HUGE. Conceptually, the holiday bazaar was a promising idea. I appreciated that charities were given free tables at a high-throughput event. Unfortunately though, the shoppers were no games. They were on a serious mission to buy shit. Shit for themselves and shit for gifts. No time to hear about poor, abused moon bears and domestic animals. Sure, there were some pretty Chinese silk purses, cute teddy bears, yummy-smelling candles… very nice retail items indeed, but come on: this is China. Who pays 200 RMB for a silk bag? 50 RMB is already above market value! Ah well, who can dictate where people choose to drop their dough. Needless to say, I headed home with a trunkful of AAF goods. And in many ways, I doubt I’ll have better luck offloading the stuff elsewhere– after all, like I said, this is China. Who’s gonna buy an AAF shirt or stuffed animal for 100 RMB? It’s just not a realistic expectation. I’ll likely have better luck convincing people to donate to a good cause and just not get anything back other than good karma.
The trials of my nonprofit world continue. Mind you, all my classes were canceled this week. Still, I’m exhausted. Monday, I headed to the office for a LifeLine staff meeting. Got all caught up on our happenings. Donated computers work most of the time. Sometimes, we get a dangerous message of doom and gloom: no operating system found! Ah well, restart the PC with your fingers crossed, back up files, and carry on! Also, our fundraising event (a fun city-wide scavenger hunt called Quest) slated for Saturday was canceled due to lack of interest. Not enough tickets sold. Take that off the damn homepage! Tuesday, picked up some organization brochures and holiday calendars to distribute and sell for Second Chance Animal Aid. Prepped for a class that would later get canceled (typical short- to zippo- notice). Wednesday, got my ass up early to set up yet another table for AAF. This time in SOGO (aka Jiu3 Guan1), the swanky, high-end mall next to Jing An Temple. I’ve actually never been above basement level (where there’s a nice supermarket). The stores are too high brow for a low-life like me. But at least now I have the transport of AAF goods down. John came up with the brilliant idea of stuffing everything into a little rolly suitcase. I did that this morning, and it was so much better than lugging five million plastic bags around. Given the high sales today (one scarf to Susie, who volunteered with me), I’m thinking I can empty out the suitcase and just cram it full of brochures. Screw selling items, man. No one’s buying anything. By the way, any readers out there want to buy? I know I’ve made the goods sound soooo enticing!! Ok, excuse the sarcasm and bad attitude. Actually, I like the shirts and holiday cards. I’m just not convinced that’s how I would want to support AAF and its programs. I prefer the “less is more” philosophy (excluding computers/tech gadgets, of course), which reminds me: check out the Center for the New American Dream. Some interesting things to consider, especially during the holiday season. But I digress: back to the tabling today. Although the event was nicely organized, turnout was low– in part because it was a weekday and also because SOGO is a pricey mall that just doesn’t get much traffic. I’m going back tomorrow for another good beating. Then, I’m gearing up full force for some massive sales/fundraising action on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully, there will be bigger crowds then.
Regardless, I’ll be in high spirits following my monstrous Thanksgiving bingefest. I know, all this talk about minimalism and low-key lifestyle, blah, blah. Well sorry, I LOVE Thanksgiving food. When I strayed from vegetarianism, poultry was the first thing to give. Specifically because I had to have turkey. In China, people don’t eat turkey– they consider the bird too big and the meat too dry. So it’s only available when Thanksgiving rolls around. That’s when I have to go all out. And I’m not just talking a plate of Turkey and cranberry sauce. When I say “all out,” I mean a serious big-hotel holiday spread with the 25-lb bird, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and every possible kind of pie ever known to humankind. Yesiree, you heard right: Thanksgiving ain’t no meal for the weight-conscious. It’s a full-on attack. My mouth has been watering for weeks now in anticipation of turkey-day. And finally, tomorrow is the day. Thank goodness class is canceled. John’s gonna have to plop me into a wheelbarrel and roll me home. Can’t wait to ride out the food coma stretched out on my space-foam mattress topper with the little space heater churning away! Man, life is grand!