a publication of the World Gem Society....21.January.2012..................
WGS: Tucson Primer
Some tips to help you have a better show time.
|As we prepare for the WGS Tour of Tucson 2012 I am reminded that we have a lot of first timers going this year. With that in mind I thought today we would post up a Tucson Primer for all of you newbies and perhaps a refresher for some Tucson veterans. For while there are few rules involved at the shows, there are some practical guidelines that can help you have a better show. So in no particular order, here are some helpful pointers to assist you with your show tours.|
Lunch with Alan
A few years ago I was having a quick lunch at one of the big round tables at the back of the AGTA Gemfair. I very nice gentleman and his wife sat down beside me to have their lunch and we spent the next 20 minutes in an excellent discussion of the industry and new things we had seen at the show. It was only as they were leaving that I realized I had just had a nice, personal sit down lunch with Alan Hodgkinson and his lovely wife. Wow! Had I won the Texas State Lottery I could not have asked for a better First Place Prize. And yet here we were just having a casual lunch. You know...me and my friend ALAN HODGKINSON! When you go around the various Tucson Gem Shows, you never know just how many industry rock stars you may find yourself having lunch with. Stay alert.
Fight the Urge
Tucson is a great time to see old dealer friends, but remember that there is a protocol about how and when to meet and greet. When you see someone you know at their booth and they are pitching a stone to a customer, that is not the time to stop by for a chat. This is business. These dealers have spend literally thousands of dollars to set up shop in these show booths. If someone is working with a customer you should fight the urge to stop by and say "hello". Come back later. Even if you are shopping and want to see a gemstone with a dealer who is already working with someone, don't interrupt. When they get finished with that customer they will give you the same courtesy of working with you uninterrupted.
Learn How to Fold Stone Papers
Although few stones are in papers at the show, you will occasionally have someone hand you a gemstone in a stone paper. Nothing will show you up as a novice faster than having to fumble around opening the paper, and God forbid that you don't know how to fold one back up. This may seem like a simple issue to many but it is a serious "tell" if someone is new to the business. You should be able to refold a gemstone paper even with your eyes closed. This is so important that I am bringing stone papers for everyone to practice with on our Tuesday night orientation.
Don't Use Tweezers
Colored stone dealers generally don't use tweezers at a show. Why? Because they know that you and I are going to be there. Customers have a tendency to get nervous when holding a stone with a tweezers in a crowd, and squeeze too tight. One of two things can happen: (1) The stone is held so tight that it flips out of the tweezers and out into the crowd in the aisle, and traffic will have to stop while you get down on your knees to find the damned thing. Embarrassing! or...(2) The stone is held so tight that the tweezer puts tiny chips on the girdle. Either way, use your fingers. Diamond dealers don't like fingers because skin oil is hard to clean. But colored stone dealers don't use tweezers because they have seen far too many times the very thing that you are worried about when holding gemstones with tweezers in public.
Its OK to Look At Name Badges
As you walk through the show you will notice everyone looking down at your chest. They are not checking out your endowment, they are looking for your name to know who you are. Wear your name badge where it can be seen and get used to looking at name badges. It is not rude or improper. Its why those name badges are issued at the shows.
Remove Your Badge Between Shows
Nothing says: "I am carrying gemstones" like wearing an AGTA Gemfair badge or other show badge around the streets of Tucson. And while you cannot throw a rock in Tucson without hitting an undercover cop during the shows (just a metaphor, don't try this) its still just wise practice to take off those show badges when you walk out the show door. You can always put them back on before the next show.
It's Wholesale, Lady!
Many of the shows are wholesale only. That means....buying multiple items as in a "flat" of specimens. A "flat" is like a box top with a layer of specimens. Many dealers will sell gem and mineral items "by the flat" only. If it says "by the flat" then it means just that. "Wholesale Only" usually means that the dealer will only sell in bulk lots with a minimum purchase. Other dealers may sell you what I call "onezies", meaning just one of the specimens. Don't be afraid to ask if someone will sell you a "onezie" of something. But understand that many of the wholesale shows and dealers are there to sell to retail dealers and are not interested in selling onezie items to individuals. No profit in selling onezie items if you have prices based on selling wholesale numbers. Be aware of where you are shopping and act accordingly. But don't be afraid to ask. Work the shows, work the dealers, but understand the business of wholesale.
Check Out The Swimming Pools
The first year that the guy who found the South American source of the Olmec Blue Jade came to Tucson he was set up on a folding table at the swimming pool of the Super 8 motel. He had put a bunch of specimens in a 55 gallon barrel and flew it to Tucson but had no place to show. Most people walked past him without knowing what they were really seeing and he sold cheap. The next year the world media reported on the find and the guy was a millionaire and his goods were a fortune. Don't be afraid to check out the little out of the way places for unique finds. One year I found some of the finest Australian chrysoprase at the African Arts Show at the very end of the freeway. That was the only booth the guys could find. I got a huge chrysoprase rough for $45.00. Next year, I could not even approach something like that as the guys were rich and famous. Same with our big muscovite plates. I got those for $1 a piece. You never know what you will find in those little hole-in-the-wall places around Tucson.
If You Want It, Buy It
If you see something you feel you want to buy, buy it. Don't think to yourself: "I will think about that and come back". Why? (A.) With so many shows and so many dealers you most likely will not remember where it was and (B.) If you do find the dealer again the item will most likely be already sold because someone else was not so indecisive. If you want it, buy it. These shows move fast and slow decisions usually mean no decisions.
Don't Smoke At the Show Doors
I hate it when people stand around the entrance to the shows and create a fog of second hand smoke for me to walk through before I can get into the show. Nobody wants to breathe second hand smoke trying to enter a show. And when the signs say to go outside if you smoke it does not mean just to clear the front door. It means go at least 20 meters outside the door and make sure you are down wind. If it were up to me "Go Outside to Smoke" would mean "out into the Sonoran Desert" somewhere. But then I don't wish second hand smoke even on the rattle snakes. I would rather endure being around someone after a big night of frijoles at the Mexican restaurant than around someone smoking a cigarette. Seriously.
Avoid the ATM's
Avoid the ATMs outside the shows at all costs, and I don't use that "cost" term lightly. The show ATMs will only give you a maximum of $200.00 and charge you up to $6.00 per withdrawal. YIKES! Either take plenty of cash or else take a really nice 10 minute walk over to the downtown area banks and use their ATMs for a fraction of the cost. Those ATMs will give you maximum per withdrawal amounts and only charge a couple of bucks usually.
We will cover more in our World Gem Society Tour of Tucson 2012 Orientation on Tuesday night at the Holiday Inn on Grant. Until then, I thought I would just get you juiced up a little bit with excitement. This is going to be the best Tucson Gem Show week ever.
Coming Next: The World Gem Society Tour of Tucson 2012 Registered Gem Dealer List.
|Remember: The World Gem Society is helping to sponsor the AGTA Gemjammin event. This is a worthy cause and a great night to kick back with some great music and ice cold BEvERages. Plan on attending on Thursday night. The World Gem Society gang will be there. Click on the Gemjammin icon at left to learn more..|