We made a very special Christmas Present to sell at the markets this weekend. We collected lots of random small things that we had been keeping in our houses - that were waiting to be used or because they were nice - and washed quite some glass jars with lids. We filled the crap in the glass jars doing our best according to our artistic and creative judgement and labeled it: "Random Junk"
We brought the jars to the market, together with other things we had made ourselves and had an interesting time questioning all this selling and buying, art work and trash concepts.
How? Funnily enough quite some people liked the Random Junk jars. When they asked the price, we said, you can say how much you want to give, then we can agree on the price together.
I had a lot of fun seeing people's eyes twist. For the first time I was trying to sell a product that we happily made, but that didn't represent an offense for me if people didn't want to buy it. On the contrary, people would have to make an effort to decide if they really wanted it, and how much money did they think they would be willing to pay for it.
The game was about this idea, that something that appears very valuable for me, should also have a very high price. Or all the concerns that this raised around value, price and quality.
At first they were confused and had a really hard time saying a number. Sometimes they had the feeling that for the value they wanted to give to the jar, they would could not really afford to pay it (because they couldn't justify that they really needed it as one needs food or a place to stay). Other times they would offer a price initially that they already considered underpriced themselves. It was them having a struggle about wanting something and paying for it and me watching their story and their process.
When they said a number and I said, yes, then they were incredibly liberated, feeling that we had reached an agreement.
People here in Europe see a product and ask for the price. The price of the product or service is an inherent quality with a role in the decision making process of whether they want the product or not. In many cases the price is even decisive. This is a lot of the problem about money: if you are buying something you don't think about how much effort it takes to make it, you care about how much is the producer asking for. It's not the buyer's problem, it's the producer's problem. Welcome to capitalism.
Now it was the buyer's problem and I was glad to bring this issue right to the center of the discussion.
On the other hand I do find some of our Random Junk really beautiful - thank you to everyone that loved it as well and bought it :)