Sand in the Southwest—PART II


Yesterday was a bad day. The first of all misadventures that didn't end up with any decent stories.

I missed my event with the Travel Bug in Santa Fe, NM.

Bad calculations, forgot about the time difference, stopped four times to attend to the signs, and didn’t have the right time in my book, etc. Stupid reasons that were only my own fault.

I put on the second sign at a Walmart parking lot, where I also spent a night’s worth of accomodations on camping stuff. Though I said that I was too scared to camp alone, I’m changing my tune. I don’t care what everyone is telling me about sleeping in my car, I’m tired of spending more than half my per diem every night. Last night it cost $40 to stay in the second to worst motel I’ve ever stayed in in my life.

Anyway, the new sign was jerry-rigged to the passenger side of the car with pink nylon string. It definitely helped in the advertising department even when flapping. I got a nod from a woman with a child in the back of her car, not a smile, a nod of approval or hello. And then there were the young boys in Gallup that were motioning to help “get out the sand”. We waved and smiled at eachother for a few blocks and then they took off.

So, lets speed up to 90mph and get to the point where I missed the event.

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I called as soon as I realized that I would be late. Greg, the shopowner, was nice about it and I told him to give my number out to those who showed up. Turned out some did, but maybe only a handful. Maybe less, he didn’t give me the exact figure but only had four chairs out. Anyway, Greg went into a spiel about how they don’t do well with events. He had told me that when I called him originally, and I had to talk him into it. So, I asked him how we did with the ITSA promotion (Independent Travel Stores Association). He began to tell me that he pretty much ignores them.

Yep, you heard it. In June, we paid $100 or more a store for about a dozen stores to put our posters and books up in their front window, use our postcards, feature us in their websites and newsletters, etc. Well, Greg told me that he never gets the $100 or a part of it, and that he didn’t do anything for us at all. His store is mostly guidebooks and maps and I couldn’t even see a travel literature section. I asked him where it was and he said it was interspersed with the countries.

I gave him 8 free books for the trouble of staying open while I drove in late. I had pulled them out before we got inside and I heard all this info, but still, I’m confident they’ll sell if people can sell them. I want to prove to him that there is a brighter side to travel literature. This experience is the exact opposite of every other store I’ve been to. And I told him that even my smallest events still had happy event coordinators because they’d sold 12 books or more leading up to the event.

You never know why things happen the way they do. But I was happy to learn this information about ITSA. I’m not sure what we’ll do with it, but I think we will take it into consideration before doing one again next year.

After the event I drove around and spent money at Kinko’s thinking I’d be sleeping at Walmart. But when I was ready to go over there the store was still open and there were lots of cars in the lot and it just didn’t feel right. So, I found the dump I’m leaving now. We’ll see if I make it to Oklahoma City tonight. That’s where I’m scheduled to go.

Wait! Back to the signs. So, by the end of day four, the back sign is ripped and I the hood all scratched up. I’ll need some good car advice on how to touch that up. The funny thing is that the lettering from the sign can faintly be seen on the black pain. The wind has beat in the impression of our ad!