Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Quick! Catch the Sunshine!

Today was the only day in which we've had sunshine in a while and it is supposed to rain and snow for the next three days. I knew I had to get out and run some errands while I could. I needed to pass out my business cards and coupons to more pet businesses as well as do some Christmas shopping.

A lady who owns a local pet supply store told me that marketing in this town sucks. She hasn't had any luck getting customers from her local marketing efforts. She advised me to do just what I am doing, which is to get my business card out there at all the pet-related businesses. She told me that two other pet photographers were advertising in her window.

That surprised me, because I had made sure there were no pet photographers in this area before starting my business, and in the months that followed other women have followed suit. I took a look at the example photo of one of my competitors and knew I had nothing to worry about with her. You could tell she had no professional training. The other pet photographer was offering to paint your pet's portrait as well, which is a talent I don't have. I did paint a portrait of a cat for my parents long ago, and it looks like 12-year-old did it. So, I have to stick to just photography.

Some businesses, mainly the small businesses, were very welcoming and provided community bulletin boards specifically for the purpose of supporting related businesses. However, some of the larger chain pet stores had rules about not allowing anyone to advertise in their store. One chain store said no to letting me set out my business cards for pet photography, and then they gave me a flier advertising that some photographer is going to take pictures of your pet sitting in Santa's lap for just $9.95. Ugh. I would be doing other professional photographers is disservice if I charged that little for my time, talent and products.

Another big name pet store was very kind about allowing me to advertise on their bulletin board and in their employee break room, but when I returned a few weeks later, either a competitor or the store employees had taken down all of my business cards and special offers. I seriously doubt that potential customers took all of them. I paid good money for good quality business cards and advertisements, so I'm not happy about them ending up in the trash so quickly.

Most of the parking lots around here were paved in the 1970's when everyone was driving little economy cars like Honda Civics, so the parking spaces and aisles are very narrow. Since I was driving my big truck, I kept purposefully parking way out in the back of each lot so that I could get out easy. However, like a moth to a flame, other drivers kept parking on both sides of me even though there were plenty of other spots much closer. I just don't understand people. Most of them seem to operate on the Monkey See -- Monkey Do philosophy, not even trying to think for themselves.

I parked way out where there were no other cars when I ate my lunch in my truck. Amazingly, several drivers came down to where I was parked and slowed down as if they were going to park right next to me. I gave them my growly dog look to send them away. Don't bother me. I'm eating. Grrrrrrrrr. Ha ha.

Doing that brought back memories of when I used to eat my lunch in my car each day at various jobs, because if I didn't leave the building my boss would find me and make me work over my lunch break while I ate. In one case, I only had a half-hour lunch break, so I could only drive to the Safeway one block away. I'd park way out where no other cars were, and without fail, some weirdo would drive up and either park right next to me or in front of me and stare at me while I ate. They never got out of their car and went into the store. All I could figure out is that perhaps some drug dealer or pimp did business in the back of that parking lot and these were his customers waiting to see if I was going to make an offer.

With another job, I drove around looking for some place where I could eat my lunch in peace, because if I ate in my truck in the company's parking lot, my boss or coworkers would come out to my truck and interrupt my lunch break with problems they needed me to solve. I found a new office park that was being built, and parked way in the back of its lot behind a building. I was fine there for a few days, and then these guys in a gardening truck found me one day and parked next to me. They ate their lunch while I ate mine. After that, they came back every day to eat their lunch next to me. It was just too weird, so I had to forfeit my space to them.

Eventually, I found a hiding place from my coworkers and the gardeners by off-roading through some empty lots and parking behind a pile of rocks. I'd lean my seat back and take a nap after eating. Occasionally, random people who happened to be hiking past would come and look in my windows to see if I was alive. One time a police helicopter found me hiding in my car and circled me repeatedly. I couldn't sleep with all that racket over my head, so I drove back to the office, and the helicopter followed me. I got out, waved to the pilot, and went back to work. It's hard to find places where I can be alone. I think that by simply having the desire to be alone, my behavior appears suspicious to others, which is probably why they pay so much attention to me.

Oh well, I know I'll get some alone time over the next few days, because I probably won't leave the house. I've come pretty close to losing my fingertips to frostbite just by going out and doing my horsey chores these past few days. I'm not kidding. I wear ski gloves and when I come back inside and take them off, my fingertips are a different color from the rest of my skin and the pain is really intense. I don't know how Sarah Palin survives in Alaska.


fernvalley01 said...

Tough to get the world to understand you just need a little space! As far as the frozen fingers,I gave up on gloves ,I have a great pair of polar fleece mitts , they are loose and soft so I can muddly through most chores,even got mu pocket knife open with them on today! seems like if your fingers aren't separate they stay warmer

Fantastyk Voyager said...

I hope you can get some good advertising going. It's so hard to establish a new business.

Gosh, even having lunch in your car seems to invite looky-lookers. Maybe they were having their lunch away from the office just like you were.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Have you watched her TV show? I really like it and enjoy the glimpse into not only her lifestyle, but the Alaska lifestyle, too.
The winter would probably drive me crazy with literally only an hour or so of sunshine each day.
And the summers would seriously confuse my system with 23 hours of sunshine every day.

I hope you are able to not enjoy some private peaceful moments, but also some new business and customers soon, too.


Stacey said...

I HATE it when people do that!!! I used to drive an Evo and so I'd always park far out in hopes that the Evo would be left in peace and wouldn't get door dinged or worse. Most people are incredibly lazy and wouldn't dare park out there because that means *GASP* they might have to walk another couple hundred feet. Anyway, the same thing would happen to the Evo. It was a magnet for stupid riced out Civics, Rx8's, S2000's, etc... Extremely irritating!!!!

You need to get some of those hand warmers to stick in your gloves for chores! They should be at Wal-Mart. I used to use them every day when I was driving carriages, they are life savers!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

fernvalley01 - Interesting. I'll keep an eye out for some mittens.

Lisa - I tried to watch that show but had to change the channel. Too much animal murder. I mean, I know that's how we get our food, but I don't like to watch the life being snuffed out of them. I personally don't hunt, but I do fish and I'm always good about handling the fish as humanely as possible. If I want to throw it back, I get the hook out quickly and cleaning and gently release the fish back into the river. If I want to eat it, I kill it immediately, then get the hook out.

Stacey - Yeah, when I see a vehicle parked way out, I figure the driver just is trying to avoid door dings, and if there are plenty of spaces to go around, I leave several spaces between my truck and other vehicles. I've had my truck for nearly 10 years and I think it is invincible to getting door dings, but I don't want to get boxed in so that I have to make an 8-point turn to be able to get back on the road. I'll look for those hand warmers. The coaches used to buy them for the softball players to keep in their mitts.

Ms Martyr said...

Okay, Alaskan here and please, please, please do not believe that Sarah Palin represents the rest of us or our lifestyle.
I'm extremely lucky in that the barn where I ride is heated so I only need gloves when I'm working outside. Our local Costco sells both the hand and feet warmers so you can stock up in bulk.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...


I forgot to mention that your sky/mountain photo is gorgeous!


achieve1dream said...

Yikes you need some of those little hand warmers to put in your gloves!

That sucks that they got rid of your business cards but don't blame the employee. Where I work right now I have to be nice and take anything people are advertising and then throw it away as soon as they leave. Don't tell anyone, but I usually keep them and leave them someplace else. I just can't stand throwing away something they put effort into. :)

That is crazy about your lunch alone time. I never even thought about the drug dealer scenario. That totally makes sense but I would have been so freaked out by the guy that I wouldn't have thought of it myself. :) Good luck getting some alone time. :D