I am really worried about the future of my business. On Saturday, I felt compelled to pack up my stall at three in the afternoon, at least an hour and a half earlier than I would do normally, during the busiest trading time. I am certain I have lost quite a lot of money as I usually do between a third and a half of my business in the last couple of hours of trading. Oftentimes, people who have been round in the morning, come back and purchase after looking around at other options.
The reason I felt I had to leave was a group of intimidating looking people dragged a bench into some open space behind my stall and sat down swigging alcohol. I think they may be homeless but I thought I knew most of the homeless people in Cambridge as I always a buy a Big Issue but I didn't recognise any of them. They had two large dogs with them and they kept barking at my little terrier, Missy. Consequently, she wouldn’t settle down in order for us to sit peaceably behind the stall. I couldn’t talk to customers and deal with Missy.
On the Friday, the craft market is also open during June to August but I only trade on a Saturday. Apparently the same people were there nearly all day; they had a fight amongst themselves and the police had to become involved, statements were taken from the stallholders.
The market manager called in the police on Saturday as soon as the people arrived; two officers saw their dogs menacing at Missy, Missy was very well behaved in response and the police also saw that. The market manager has asked me to write a strong letter of complaint about it - not sure who to at the moment. I am worried if I write a letter about it, all the Council will do will ban dogs from the market which may stop those people appearing in the market but that will spoil it for everyone else – ie other stallholders who also bring their dogs with them and also customers with dogs who usually enjoy a problem-free stroll around the market. I certainly don’t want to leave my dog at home, it would mean her being on her own from 7am until 6.30pm in the evening, which she isn’t used to as I am at home all day during the week making my beads and jewellery.
Anyway, the police started to leave with the people still sat there behind us, I asked the officers why they weren't moving them on and the police just waffled at me. Another stallholder also complained about them being there so the police stayed a bit longer but didn't do anything to get rid of them. Some stallholders have credit card machines, we all have personal belonging and it's really unnerving to have people sat behind you.
If it's happened in the past, ordinarily I have felt able to approach people and point out nicely that we don't feel secure about it and most understand but I didn't feel able to ask these people considering how violent they had been the day before.
It's 2am in the morning and I can't sleep for worrying about what I'm going to do. They left after I had packed up and gone and apparently were heard to say "see you next week" to a couple of stallholders.
I don't get enough business from the internet though I could perhaps open an Etsy shop and do more on Ebay but even then, I feel I would have to get a job. I haven't worked at a "proper" job for 4-5 years - I was in web design/system support before and I haven't kept my skills as up to date as an employer would demand and so the prospect is not a good one.