Friday, March 20, 2009

Snowbirds and Cruisers

There are many things I like about this time of year. Spring in Florida can be a glorious thing. For a week or two, at least! (Then it starts getting so hot and humid that I stay indoors as much as possible.) One of the things I like about this time of year is that we are visited by our annual influx of "snowbirds". Snowbirds are those folks who live most of the year in more northern climates, who come to Florida for a few weeks or a few months, until the weather gets a little nicer "back home". Snowbirds are just as important to Florida's economy as tourists, and they tend to take a little more vested interest in what goes on down here because this is their home away from home.

I've been in my current retail location for more than 16 years. So I can boast quite a following of snowbirds! These are lovely people who have discovered me at some point over the years, and for whom my shop has become a "must go there" stop on their visit. I've got to say, it's very flattering! They come to see what's new, they ask about my family. Particularly my son. When Ricky was an infant, I brought him to work with me every day. He stayed most of the time in a portable bassinet/playpen behind my counter. I still have people come in this time of year, peer over the counter and ask, "How's that baby?" They're shocked when I point to the picture on the wall of my third-grader and say, "He's great--thanks!" Then we all giggle about it. (I don't know about you, but I measure the passage of time by other people's kids. You don't see them that often, then when you do, they've grown a foot! And you feel...really old!) My snowbirds inevitably leave with a new piece of jewelry, and leave me with a really good feeling!

Then there are the cruisers. Twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays, one of the cruise ships docked at Port Canaveral offers their passengers a "day trip" to Cocoa Village. I can't speak for other merchants here in the Village, but these cruisers do absolutely nothing for me except waste my time. They come in the door, refuse to make eye contact, take one "lap" around my store, and leave. Of course, I have to get up from my desk, interrupting whatever it is I'm doing (computer work, jewelry-making), to greet them. I smile. They don't look at me. I try to engage them in conversation. They practically run for the door. So it's stand up, watch them walk around the store, sit down. All day. There are usually between 50 and 80 people throughout the day, so that's at least 30 pairs/groups. Thirty times I stand up, watch them walk around the store, and sit down. Now I realize they're overexposed to jewelry on a cruise. It's on the ship, it's in every port. They're also probably exposed to lots of "hard sell" techniques, too, depending on where they've gone. Some of them I've even heard say they just wanted to stretch their legs on dry land. Fine. But come on, can at least acknowledge me! I feel like I get absolutely nothing done on Mondays and Thursdays. Except maybe a little "stand up/sit down" exercise...?



Seaconnet Loft said...

Hmmm, maybe you should put "speed bumps" in your shop to slow the cruisers down :) I hope you have a great selling season this year!!

Manic Mother said...

Yes summer in FL is pure hell.