I don’t know whether this is solely an American (er, USA) experience or if there is something similar in other countries and cultures, but if you’ve ever been to a Major League Baseball Game you’re likely familiar with the sounds and smells (and frequent splats of mustard) coming from the vendors trolling up the aisles, flinging hot dogs over your head while chanting their anthem, “Red Hots! Get Your Red Hots, Here! Red Hots!” It is one of those silly things that old folks like me wax nostalgic over. And while the intent and purpose of those vendors with their theatrical delivery and sing-song announcement of the goods they’ve got for sale is absolutely no different from Billy Mays shouting (as if he were unaware of the invention of microphones) and doing whatever else it takes to grab your attention just long enough to plant in your subconscious a sense of familiarity with his products and name. The theory being that the next time you go down the cleaning supply aisle at your neighborhood grocery, you’ll naturally pick up the familiar bottle of Oxi-Clean your annoying old friend Billy told you about. The selling style of the Billy Mays of this world (G-d Rest his Soul) seemed so crass and irritating that I grab the remote and shut off the TV the minute his puss appears on the screen! My reaction to loud-mouthed, hard-sell tactics is not exclusive to me but it’s not exactly reasonable or fair to the extent that you really can’t judge the quality of a product by the volume of the salesman’s pitch. So as a consequence of my delicate sensibilities, I’ve probably missed out on some worthwhile goods.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that what lies at the base of my discomfort with “In Your Face” sales techniques is most likely remnants of snobbery hidden in the recesses of my brain, assimilated as a child from relatives a generation or three older. For various reasons (some good, some sad, some downright idiotic) certain members of my family wanted to distance themselves from their Russian or Roumanian peasant heritage and one of the ways they chose to do this was by trying to mimic East Coast Old Money crowd. The so-called “High Society” set that my parents, grandparents and great grandparents looked up to, acquired the things they wanted through private appointments with exclusive shops or by commanding a private showing in their homes by the designers, jewelers, artists and craftsmen directly. The difference between acquiring treasures (and even ordinary goods) in the way a Vanderbilt or Astor did was considered the epitome of class and taste. In their rarified stratosphere, it was beneath them to even consider letting themselves be “sold” something by a grimy street vendor who obviously needed the money to feed his family and so didn’t care who you were as long as you paid cash. Such an unseemly, distateful situation naturally cast suspicion over the quality and value of anything bought from such a wretch. Or so their societal biases lead them to believe. Please don’t get me wrong: I do NOT condone such irrational and cruel prejudice or the vain, shallow persons who believe themselves to be superior human beings simply because they have the luxury of not worrying about where their next meal will come from or whether they can scrap enough together to make sure their children have a pair of shoes of their own. I’ve lived on both sides of that aisle and don’t want to let myself ever forget that. Nevertheless, if I am to be perfectly honest, I often have to consciously remind myself that there is nothing shameful about commerce and trades, or in asking people to buy your wares.
You may already have guessed what brought this subject up tonight, as I’ve talked before about my recent decision to place my artwork for sale on the open market. Despite the fact that I’ve owned and operated a number of businesses over the past 40+ years, it’s taking me some time to get comfortable with the idea that promoting is not the same thing as bragging and I shouldn’t be embarrassed to say “Look at what I did! Ain’t it great? How many do you want to buy today?”. Well, okay, maybe if I insisted on reciting those words out loud, I should be embarrassed. But I think you probably get the idea I’m trying to express here. I started out with only one (1) poster for sale back in May 2010 and now, five months later, I have over 80 different products in my store, with new ones being added weekly!
Despite this breakthrough in finally recognizing the value of my work, I still find myself feeling awkward and shy about trying to promote it. Yeah, I’ve mentioned the store a 3 or 4 times on this blog and have a Flash widget displaying thumbnails of my products in the right-hand column, but according to all the marketing gurus, I’ve done a woeful job of spreading the word about how the content of my store has grown and inviting people to check it out often to see what’s new. A part of me feels like I’d be violating some trust between myself and my readers who originally came to this Blog for a handful of free icons and a few minutes of reading the down-to-earth thoughts of a person just like them who lives with incredible challenges yet despite the pain and fears is determined to smile, find joy in the life that she has and even dare to dream of a future. So I’d like to assure my loyal readers, that I have no intention of abandoning my original mission in starting this blog and will continue to share my feelings, thoughts and discoveries and, yes, continue to post as “Freebies” various icons and clip art I’ve created. But rather than only publishing a new post when I’ve had the time and been well enough to write something of substance and being silent and visually absent for days in between, I’m going to starting filling those empty days with posts introducing news, photos and links to my latest products available at my Zazzle Store. While I hope you see something you like and will buy and that you will even pass on your recommendations and my links to your family and friends, I hope you will think of such posts along the same pleasant line as the Old-Time Hot Dog Vendors at an exciting ballgame. 😉
On today’s menu of Freebies, I’m serving up a gumbo of application icon designs I’ve done over the years for my own personal use. Enjoy!
Free Clip-Art / Icons of the Day
The following images are either full or reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save the image(s) of your choice to your desktop. (Unless otherwise noted, downloads are 512px X 512px in .png format). As always, usage of any of the images offered on this blog are free for your personal use while subject to the limitations of my Creative Commons Non-Commercial – Attribution – No Derivatives – Share Alike- 3.0 license. (See sidebar for details)