Self-appointed help at market.

jebfarmApril 14, 2013

Hello everybody -

At the market I participate at there is a man that shows up almost every Saturday that volunteers to help without asking me if I am needing any extra help for the day. He gets right behind my sales tables at my booth, makes himself right at home, and then usually talks about inappropriate things or unrelated things while I am trying to say good morning to the people passing by. Yesterday I had to explain to him that I have one day a week to sell the material that I grow and bring to the market - and that I am not there to socialize with him. I also said that during the busiest time of year I could use his help but would let him know before hand through a phone call or email. I have a woman friend that comes with me to the market to sell every week and that is usually all the help I need. I am afraid that my self appointed helper will show up again next weekend as if nothing was said to him - and I couldn't have been any more direct or to the point when I told him if I needed his help I would ask him ahead of time.
The Honey Lady at the same market has a woman that shows up every week to volunteer without ever being asked and honestly the 'honey helper' doesn't help much with sales and usually looks like she needs a bath. The honey lady is too nice to tell her volunteer to go away - the Goat Milk Cheese people had a self - appointed helper that they kicked out after a season and now this person hangs around my space and takes pictures of my product - but doesn't buy anything. I am sure there are other vendors at the market that are experiencing the same thing that I am not aware of.
I think these 'helpers' really love the market, they befriend a vendor that they particularly like, and then behave like they are an active part of it. I call them market groupies.
So do I talk with the market manager? Should I make the people in charge of the market aware of what's going on to see if they can do anything about it? The folks that run the market are very easy to work with and accommodating.
What would you do or say to these people who's help just isn't needed?

Thanks for any input,

Jeb

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myfamilysfarm

Jeb, your market people should know about the 'helpers'. I've had several people offer to help, usually homeless or from the 1/2house. They have to be out of the overnight facility by 6 or 7, which is about the same time that market starts. Usually mine were just looking for a piece of fruit or veggies, or just something to do until they could get into the day shelter (not open til 9am)

I just tell them that I have enough help (which I always had someone else at market). Being a woman, makes it harder to convince some people that we can do what we do just fine.

As far as the photo person, I've also had those and surprising enough after a few years, those people would bring me the print copy of their photos which they gave me credits when it was printed. A definite plus, even if it took awhile. Most of my photographers would ask, or if I caught them before the pic, I'd ask if I could freshen up the display before they took the pics. You never know who they might show that pic to. I've had my veggies featured on the front page of our local newpapers due to those photos.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:23AM
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jebfarm

Thanks for the response. Maybe what I will do is make a sign for all to see at the market that says extra help not needed today! Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 11:05AM
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rustico_2009

I wouldn't put the sign. I think my choice would be to tell the person as soon as they show up, and as politely as you can, that you can't have extra people at or around your stand. I'd also probably let the managers and the vendors around you know that this potentially challenging exchange may happen...for a sense of moral support if nothing else.

I would not consider the person for future employment, especially if they blow the fair boundaries that you have set one more time. I would not consider them anyway, but some people are more flexible than I am and it works out fine.

I have had people take pictures of my stand. Usually it is innocent, but I always try to point out the photographer to the MM and ask about any possible negative agenda. The last guy who did it was known to try to kind of aggressively panhandle money for putting the photos on a blog as "advertisement"..I guess I didn't look like a soft target because he never came back.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 12:19PM
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cole_robbie(6)

Tell them your insurance only covers market vendors and not helpers. When you let someone help you, in the eyes of the law they become your agent and you are the principal. One of the rules of law is that the principal is liable for the torts of the agent. So you better be careful whom you make into your agent.

At the same time, these people all likely have mental illness and deserve to be treated with compassion, so try not to be too harsh.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 1:04PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes the market manager should have them move on. Unless a person is down on your contract as a helper they should not be there and are not covered. Funny you were so direct, I thought you were going to say you hurt the person's feelings and they will feel bad but then you said they just won't get it. They must be a PITA!

My mom is down as someone who can help me but she is of no help. She is distracting and not beneficial with set up or customers and make weird uncomfortable laugh noises when a customer comes up and she needs to stop talking. I do like her help in the garden with fussy work though. She is very experienced and has more patience than me.

Anyway I got a little chuckle thinking about the weirdos hanging on at that market.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 7:29PM
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rustico_2009

I didn't think about the potential for an employee contract violation. I am renewing my certificate next month and an employee contract for anyone working at our stands is part of the deal in this jurisdiction. Lack of an agreement is punishable by a fine.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:00AM
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myfamilysfarm

I would NOT put up the sign. If in the future you would need help, some will remember the sign.

Yes, if you have someone helping at your stand, you are responsible for all of their actions during that time and place.

We don't have to have an employee agreement, put we do need to list everyone that might be working the stand.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 9:49AM
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