NOTE: I’d like to warn you ahead of time and apologize that although I never intended this review to go beyond two parts, it seems it has taken on a life of its own and I could not finish it in this part two. There is a lot to say and I feel that cutting anything out would be a disservice. I hope I am right but ultimately that will be for you to decide. I will, however, make two promises here and now. There will not be a part four, so the next installment will definitely be the final one. And, I will have the next one finished and posted no later than one week from today.
Thank you for your patience—PFMN
The Saga Ends
In an effort to save the day, when I arrived home, before unloading the vehicle, I immediately went online to the Pennsy Flea Market website to try and reserve a space. Again, it did not work. Ironically, it informed me that I needed a password that can only be obtained by calling the office. But, of course, I knew NO ONE WAS IN THE OFFICE!
An hour later, I sent an email to Pennsy letting them know what happened. The hour wait allowed me to calm down a bit so that the email would be much more civil. I did, however, let them know that I was very angry and that they cost me not only the money I paid my friend but whatever profits I might have earned that day. (Actually, my friend, under the circumstances, agreed to take a lesser amount, which I appreciated. However, whatever the amount, it was still money thrown away due to Pennsy’s negligence.)
Pennsy Flea Market Response
Sometime, later that morning, I received a reply from the flea market’s manager. In the email, he said I had a right to be angry (thanks!) and gave me his personal cell phone number should anything like this ever happen again.
One thing I often say and truly believe is that you can always judge a business by how it handles problems and complaints. Pennsy’s response to my email was very telling.
The one thing about the email that really smacked me in the face is the fact that the manager never apologized. Telling someone he or she has the right to be angry is not that same thing and can even be taken as an offense.
Secondly, by offering me his cell phone number, he (again, offensively) assumes that, after that ordeal, I would ever return to Pennsy again.
Thirdly, he never addressed the money and time aspects of my complaint. Pennsy wasted my time and cost me money because of their negligence! The manager didn’t know this but, as I mentioned earlier, the last time I was there, I grossed $204. Let’s say on the day I was not let in I did not do as well and grossed only $150. Subtract the $45 expenses and that leaves $105. Add the fifteen dollars I paid my friend (remember, he agreed to take less) and that’s a $120 turnaround. Plus, the three hours spent loading and unloading, and lugging boxes up and down the basement stairs.
One hundred and twenty dollars and three hours taken from me because some incompetent idiot could not get up one morning and do his or her job. And, because he or she was too stupid to think of an alternative plan. And the best their manager could come up with is an email bestowing upon me the right of anger and the privilege of possessing his cell phone number. At that point, I was through with this fraud of fleas.
Why Email Was Telling
Now, I certainly didn’t expect anyone at Pennsy to hand me $120 in cash but, at the very least, a sincere apology and a few weeks of free spaces would have been nice. Not only would it have helped make up for some of the money I lost but it also would have showed me, and anyone who knew the story, that Pennsy cared about keeping their vendors happy—and keeping their vendors.
As I mentioned in the previous section, I found Pennsy’s response to my complaint very telling for several reasons; however, what it proved to me more than anything else was that the manager of this fairly large, very well-advertised market knew absolutely nothing about the business he was in.
To know flea markets one would have to know vendors for they are the flea market’s immediate, if not only, customers. And, to know vendors one would have to appreciate the time and effort it takes for them to set up on any given day. Therefore, Pennsy’s manager’s reaction told me that he had no idea what I went through on that morning only to get turned away at the gate. He treated this extremely disturbing and costly experience as if it was no worse than going to a corner store and finding out that they have sold out of your favorite chewing gum.
During the week that this incident occurred, a person I knew from the flea markets called to tell me that she “knew” that the manager of Pennsy was upset about what happened to me and was going to offer me a free space. I asked if he told her that and she said no but she had spoken to him about that and other things and she somehow sensed he was going to make the offer. One free fifteen dollar space would not go very far in making up for what they cost me monetarily but the gesture would have gone a long way.
Therefore, based on this fellow vendor’s recommendation, I showed up at Pennsy the very next Saturday (8/15/09). To make a short story even shorter, my flea market friend/informer was wrong. When I arrived at Pennsy, the manager offered nothing more than his same dumb, disingenuous smile. He never so much as mentioned the incident: no free space, no apology. Since I had once again invested the time, effort and expense (I had to pay my friend again), I said nothing, fearing that if I brought it up an argument might ensue and I’d feel compelled to walk out or they’d be compelled to throw me out. I decided to just set up and focus on making money.
My gross for that day was $171.00. Less than the last time but I was not discouraged. Still reasonable and still something to build upon. However, the following Saturday (8/22/09) I set up at Pennsy again and grossed just $137.00. Finally, on Saturday, August 29th I grossed just $104.00. Clearly a pattern had formed. On my last four trips, I made less money each time and, from my second to my fifth trips, my gross sales had decreased by one hundred dollars.
Now to backtrack a bit. During my next to last trip to Pennsy that August (8/22/09), an interesting thing happened that I feel is so indicative of the flea market’s business philosophy (and its character) that it is worth reiterating.
To be continued . . .
Administrator’s note: Flea market reviews are the opinions of those who write them based on their personal experiences either selling or shopping at a particular flea market. In my case, I also consider information gathered from other vendors and shoppers I know and trust. Philadelphia Flea Market News does not guarantee that any flea market is exactly the way it is described by any reviewer. Your experiences and perceptions might be much different. Therefore, anyone is welcome, and even encouraged, to share their own flea market opinions and experiences, or write their own reviews. As long as they are relevant and informative, they will be published.