View Full Version : Advice Needed: pushy craft seller

November 8th, 2015, 03:19 AM
I have a problem that y'all can help me with. If left up to me, I'd say something very unkind and hurtful.

There's a lady in our craft group at church who is a talker. She hogs conversations where ever she goes. We put up with her because she comes with her mother and we love her mom. Besides, she doesn't have many friends and we are probably the only people she talks to. She's single and about 56 and doesn't work.

But the main problem is when we have our craft sales, she hovers over a person and badgers them with questions about what they want and how she's made 81 of these and how she has her own kiln and can make whatever you need and can you give me your number and I'll call you. I'm sure you have met such a person, right? I'm also sure many people just leave and don't buy because of her tactics.

So..... how can this be addressed? She is always stationed near her crafts, and that's okay, because most of us do that too. But what is a good way to tell her to back off the customers?

November 8th, 2015, 03:26 AM
I'm going to start by saying I probably will not be any help here.I might understand her a little bit,I don't work and have very few friends also because I have seizures and not many people stay around when they find out about this.She may be that talkative because of those reasons listed.You might approach her and let her know that you feel people are being pressured by her and suggest she give out a business card instead.She may not even be aware that she is so talkative.I know when given the chance I can talk and talk also.

November 8th, 2015, 03:40 AM
Sorry I don't really have any advice, but was thinking the same as Joan. It could be that she is lonely and trying too hard to make friends. Or insecure. I think you first need to try to figure out why she is doing this, and then maybe it will be easier to figure out how to deal with it. Would it be possible to give her another job to do that would keep her occupied and maybe make her feel "needed"?

Joan - I find it awful that people don't stay around because of your seizures - but, you have plenty of friends here!

K. McEuen
November 8th, 2015, 04:41 AM
Talk to her mom and see what she says.

November 8th, 2015, 05:31 AM
Unfortunately I don't think there's anything you could say to this person ... No matter how kindly you say it... That won't destroy her feelings. Even though you and others know she's driving off business. She sounds like someone who is attention starved at the least and there may even be a more deep seated issue such as borderline personality. Is she only affecting her sales at your craft fairs? OR is it affecting everyone's sales? If it's only her sales, I'd bite my lip ... BUT if it's affecting the whole craft sale you might start by gently speaking to her mom...they will either both leave the group (unfortunate, but it happens) or the mom will provide some insight on how to to proceed. I feel for you ... Have seen these situations before.

November 8th, 2015, 06:12 AM
I really don't think she's trying to make friends. I invited her to our book club because we were reading a book she had read and loved. I thought it would be a great way for her to meet others and give her an outlet to talk about books and reading. She initially said yes, but then backed out at the last minute. And she's been invited to actually attend a service or adult Sunday School class but she refuses.

This crafting group is comprised of elderly women, so we all have our illnesses and problems. It's a great place to sit and work and whine a bit if you know what I mean. We don't stray from anyone with problems, but she goes overboard.

We don't allow separate selling at our craft sale. All money collected goes to one fund and that goes to whatever we decide within the church. We bought choir music, youth trips, and sewing machines for women in Africa this year. While some of the ladies do sell outside of the church (on Etsy, at other craft sales) we don't hand out business cards because it gives the impression that money goes to the person and not the church. Because she chooses not to work, she tries to go around this and take money on the sly. It's another sore spot with her and we've told her she can sell elsewhere if she wants.

I don't know the extent of her personality problems, but I do know she has depression and OCD. I'm guessing it will probably take a direct talk with her to get her to understand; she is oblivious to any hints we make. I'll talk with her mom and see if she has any suggestions. She's kinda hardheaded too, so I don't know if she is aware of any of this.

November 8th, 2015, 08:00 AM
How about plant a customer in front of her and let the customer tell her. There must be some willing actress out there.

November 8th, 2015, 12:39 PM
Maybe you could tell her that you have heard customers complaining to each other about her aggressive approach & that it makes them want to walk away instead of buying.

Claire Hallman
November 8th, 2015, 12:44 PM
I agree with the idea of giving her something to do to keep her busy. Maybe take tickets so she has to be in one place the whole time.

November 8th, 2015, 02:16 PM
We had a person in our garden club who suffered from the worst ADHD ever and did this. Had noooo sense of his talking CONSTANTLY. Even kept talking and trotting alongside the car as people fled his yard!!!

I'm friends with a guy with frontal lobe damage that babbles away. It's painful to see when people are so incapacitated from these illnesses. :(

November 8th, 2015, 04:39 PM
I think the direct approach with her would probably hurt her feelings and she wouldn't change that much anyway. It's probably just her personality and there's not much you can do about it. I work with a guy that talks away constantly, repeats stories all the time. He will stop if one of us has to answer the phone but the minnute we hang up he is jabbering away again. Even if someone says I have heard that one 500 times before it's like he is not listening to you at all and just tells the same stories over and over. This has been going on for 10 years already!

November 8th, 2015, 04:50 PM
Sounds like you are between a rock and a hard place.....unfortunately I do not have the 'tact' to handle such situations, lol.

Claire OneStitchAtATime
November 8th, 2015, 06:08 PM
I agree with Claire. Keep her busy at the sales with a job. Taking tickets, pouring coffee, gift-wrapping station. You'll think of something.

November 9th, 2015, 02:24 AM
Is she trying too hard to be outgoing or something? It struck a chord with me when you said she didn't want to join our groups. She may be uncomfortable and trying to be the perfect seller and missing the mark. Just trying to look at it from another angle.

November 9th, 2015, 03:16 AM
Unfortunately at her age, you probably won't change anything in her personality. I'd say put your booth far from her and let it go. People probably walk away... and will continue to do so. I just don't see how you can have a nice talk that will change something she has been doing her whole life.

Judy, USMC
November 9th, 2015, 05:12 AM
If I understand correctly, this is a community effort. I agree that leaving her at her booth for any length of time may turn people off to the entire event. But appointing her a greeter may be the perfect assignment. Or giving her the responsibility of the raffle would also be a plus. Naturally, she would be given breaks to relieve her mother.

An over-bearing and talkative person may not be dissuaded from those acts. My husband developed these traits after being on a bypass machine for 6 1/2 hrs after his surgery in 2010. These are now a part of his basic personality ... not exactly the guy I fell in love with ... but the guy I love just the same. Mom may have some ideas - worth a conversation before confrontation!

November 9th, 2015, 01:08 PM
I find her situation very sad. From what you have said it seems like she doesn't have a lot of self esteem and she is over trying to belong and fit in. She sounds lonely.
I agree that maybe ya'll could find a job for her that doesn't involve direct selling with the customer.

November 9th, 2015, 03:35 PM
That lady may be kin to my mother:) Just because a person may have an illness or struggle doesn't mean they can ignore the boundaries of polite society. Thanks to training at work I have learned that it is okay to take someone aside and say: do you realize you are being to pushy with people and turning them off? You are monopolizing conversations and not allowing the group to have a time for everyone to share their thoughts and knowledge? People need breathing room and you seem to be struggling with how to know to give that gift to others. If she falls apart, cries and huffs off you have to remember it's not your fault that she is upset. She will either think about what you said, come back and try to do better or not come back at all. I'm sure that there is someone in your group who is fed up with her and would be willing to have a firm, kind and gentle conversation with her. Mom knows how daughter is and ignores her so talking to mom will probably just get you excuses for her behavior or a blank look. Unfortunately there IS one in every group and they tend to exhaust us and run some of us away. If worst comes to worst you may have to restrict the group to church members only. My husband has Asperger's Syndrome but he understands the limits of how he can act/react in group and social situations. It's hard for him to be around people but he doesn't use diagnosis as an excuse to behave however he wants (except with me when he wants to get out of doing something). Good luck!

November 9th, 2015, 07:01 PM
I feel for the discomfort all of you in your group must feel. You've opened the door to her and now she is threatening the whole group. I agree that there is no course of action that will not result in some temporary increase in tensions - even doing nothing. Because if you decide to do nothing, all the stress and tension will be directed to the other group members. It's possible that talking to her directly may have a modest effect. That is the respectful thing to do. But don't count on it solving the problem. Someone who is this symptomatic (or character disordered) will not change with one corrective interaction. And please don't initially triangle in the mother. This is not a constructive course of action. First, it's going behind her back. Second, mother either realizes the behavior and chooses to minimize it and do nothing or she is blind to it after so many years. This isn't a child problem. The woman is grown.

I think the whole group needs to stand together. But not in a confrontive way against her publicly. After the private talk. I suggest you have time at one of your get togethers to focus on your values as a group. You are part of a Christian organization, so you should be reflecting the values of Christ in what you do. (Get it? She isn't) This should be discussed at length. Evaluate the results of the sale. Discuss the plans for the next selling event. Discuss goals for the fundraising. During this discussion it is critical that the group discuss how to represent your craft group and your church. Be specific. Get members to agree what they want to convey. Once the groundwork is set, then you can set better limits on this woman (and it will be necessary) or after a certain number of unfortunate conversations, explain she is not exemplifying the values you want to promote.

After over 3 decades working in psychiatry I am very aware of the toll such a person can have in a family or a small group. Don't let her illness destroy the wonderful feeling a group like this can generate for all. Give her a chance to change with clear and firm guidelines. But don't be afraid to stand up to her ways which sound manipulative and negative. Just imo.

November 10th, 2015, 06:56 AM
Carolnnc and Midge you have excellent points! Thanks so much for your thoughts.

She isn't a child and that's probably the reason why we've kept the mother out of the solution. Plus I think she's aware of the problem and has given up, or doesn't see the problem at all. Either way, she wouldn't be of much help.

I am just so tired of her and it is affecting my participation in the group. I know it bothers everyone else, because no one wants to sit near her.

Again, thanks everyone. I'll let ya know what happens.

November 10th, 2015, 03:31 PM
I would set up a table that she can teach others a craft and keep her busy, and make it her job. She is probably attention starved because she is lonely. Some people are pushy and there is nothing wrong with pushing back. Treat others as you want to be treated. If she treats you like that, then that is an invitation to treat her like that.

November 10th, 2015, 05:40 PM
Allow her yo over hear you telling some of the ladies that you went shopping and had a VERY PUSHY sales lady and did not like it. ???
I know it's a white lie, but it MIGHT work.


November 11th, 2015, 03:14 AM
I'm sorry, but I have no ideas. There is a woman in my community that sounds very much the same. She owns a small shop that has changed names twice, and locations 4 times, in the last 6 years. I think it's because people quit shopping with her! The last time I was in her shop, she was asking very inappropriate and nosy questions about my family history in front of my 8 year old son. I walked out and never went back. I discovered later that my mother and she used to attend the same gym (her info about my family did NOT come from my mother) and my mom had spent some time trying to help this woman understand why nobody liked her. She knew she put people off, but she could not comprehend why.

November 11th, 2015, 01:30 PM
One of the reasons my daughter broke up with her boyfriend of four years was due to his incessant talking. Women, yes, but I'd never met a man who could talk so much. It was quite unnerving. He's great for a gathering if the conversation is dragging but day-to-day it was very taxing.