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'Sussex Stash Sale Saga'


Organised Chaos! Or The Polegate Stash Sale...

I was organised. I even had a floor plan. 

Labels were printed so that tables could be reserved- ideal when someone has booked two tables. I thought I had the helpers organised.

Then two days before East Sussex’s 3rd Stash Sale I was told the hall would not be opened until 8.30am. the exact time I had told my stallholders they could set up.

I never thought that people would be’ leaning on the door’. I had been told only 16 tables were available for our use but we could borrow some card tables from the other hall, this was fine, I had asked two or three people to bring along extra tables for the raffle, Guild stand etc. I had even told one lady who had phoned just prior to the sale that I physically had not got any spare tables.

My only worry was whether people would come along to spend money. How could I be so innocent!

When I arrived at Polegate at 8.30am on the Saturday morning some of the stallholders were already there, ‘chomping at the bit’ to get their table set up- in a position of their choosing!

Needless to say the floor plan was of little use. By the time the young man who was going to help put up the tables arrived most of them were adorned with fabric. I think he went home with the start of a ‘nervous breakdown’.

I did however manage to reserve the tables for the lady who had booked two. But I am still not sure where the extra tables came from. There were at least twenty tables so we never did have to use the extra tables brought from home. It was a bit embarrassing when the lady who I had turned away came along and found extra tables available.

By the time 9.45am came there was a queue of ladies at the door and as everyone had set up I let them in, but there was not a full complement of helpers. I had the kitchen covered but no one to run the raffle or make sure the stallholders had a drink mid morning. I discovered later that the helpers were expecting further info, and as they had not received any they thought they were not needed. It was no-one’s fault just bad communication.

After an hour had passed Jan spotted one of the ‘missing’ helpers blissfully buying fabric, thankfully she volunteered to sell raffle tickets  after she had completed her shopping. So our first raffle ticket wasn’t sold until 11am. Thank You Denise.

Just before the end of the morning a lady came along and said she thought she had lost a ring whilst rummaging through the stashes- eventually it was found amongst the cushions of her sofa.

In spite of the chaos Victor the young man with the suspected ’breakdown’ did return to help put the tables away. Thank You.

 My thanks also to Genevieve who really had come along to help her mother but ended up in the kitchen with Terry and helping to clear up, to Jan and Keith and of course Terry who was not flustered by anything.

I had the easy job of taking the money and counting people in. Surprisingly money and people balanced.

All the ladies I spoke to said it was a successful morning and we made some money for Region 2, the hall did not look as organised as it should have and I have learned a thing or two. So next time you want some organised chaos you know who to call!

Deborah Harding