First, to answer why this occurred...
Every year we spend a long weekend in July helping one of our daughters at a sales event she attends in Lexington, Kentucky. She has had a booth at BreyerFest at the Kentucky Horse Park for the past five years. Every year she has doubled the stock she takes and every year she sells out of almost everything. It is a very successful event for her.
This year, she was due to have a baby a week after the event, so Alan and I volunteered to go without her and just the two of us man the booth. Last year she expanded to a double booth since the business has expanded so much, so this year Alan and I had to build and stock the display and run the sale. We always enjoy doing this, but this year's attendance was larger than ever. Even though we had twice the stock as last year, it was once again a sell out year!
|A few slow minutes at the booth with just a couple|
people at the check out.
|Creating the check out lane Saturday morning.|
Second, Alan came up with a 'MacGyver' solution to aid the check out process. As it was, we had vastly improved the speed of the check out process this year. The product tags were bar coded for the first time, and Alan set up his Android tablet with a cash register program called 'Regisdroid' and used the camera on the tablet to scan the bar codes. Not only was it faster than the standard cash register we had used last year, it also provided more detailed end-of-day reports. For credit card sales we once again used Square on an Android phone, and this year we added a wireless receipt printer to the system since we no longer had the normal cash register receipt.
|...to plug into Alan!|
|The USB is ready...|
Oh, we also kept our MiFi internet unit we use on the property close at hand in case the cell signal at the facility failed. We did end up turning it on a few times when the cell deteriorated to the point of slowing down credit card transactions. We needed all the help we could get in speeding up the check-out line. At end-of-day Friday, I checked the sales report and there had been 347 transactions from 9AM to 5 PM. That is 44.6 transactions an hour! So, even though there was a constant line, we were certainly moving them through quickly. We received many comments and inquiries regarding our 'hi-tech' set up at a remote vendor site (inside a horse arena). We are already planning on having two check outs next year.
So, what does that long story have to do with not having internet for 4+ days? I was so busy with the event, and packaging additional product each night, I never turned on my computer.
Next, to answer why I decided to blog about it...
Saturday night I am once again trying to add more product to the depleted stock while Alan checks his email and Facebook account. As I am working he says ' It sounds like something has happened in Colorado. Several of my Facebook friends have status updates saying they are praying for Aurora, Colorado.' He then checks headline news and we learn the whole story -- almost 24 hours after it happened.
Later, this 'no internet for several days' made me start to realize that we have become so accustomed to instant updates that we do not stop to realize that the fact we do not know something right away is not earth-shattering. The fact that we did not hear about the Aurora tragedy for almost 24 hours did not effect anything one iota. The fact I did not respond to client emails over the weekend did not effect the work I was doing on their accounts. The fact I missed some of the Facebook 'posters' my friends incessantly 'share' was not earth-shattering.
So, I am grateful for this busy, hectic, exhausting weekend putting some perspective back in my life. Being 'always connected' and owning my own business has a tendency to worm itself into my life 24 hours a day. I work on client projects at 3 in the morning, I check and answer customer emails on Saturday and Sunday to have a 'clear desk' on Monday morning. Being disconnected these few days helped me to once again realize why I am once again longing to be off-grid. Yes, we are still 'always connected' there, but it is so much easier to compartmentalize client work and separate a hectic life style from the peace and contentment I feel when 'at the property.'
By the way, we are still waiting on that grandbaby to make her grand appearance!