Sensory Overload in Atlanta

Upon returning from spending four days at the Atlanta International Home and Gift Show, I had to take a week off from any activity where I had to make a decision. Okay, I am exaggerating a bit but dinner was simple (it helped that the hubby was out of town) and the writing of this blog took a week. I could not decide on what pictures to chose to go along with the story! Seriously, the decisions that we had to make were certainly not life or death but they confronted us on every level. I used to think that being a Buyer for a store sounded like a super fun job. I mean think about it…your title is a Buyer, inferring that you HAVE to Buy things for a living, not sell anything, but Buy… which translates into shopping.  Whoa…was I off on that count! Yes, buyers usually get to travel, which is always fun and they really are doing a tremendous amount of shopping, but once at their destination, it is all business and their buying and shopping involves a super heavy dose of sensory overload and decision making prowess. 
The Atlanta Show is amazing! Anyone who is selling anything is there and whatever you are looking for, you can most certainly find, and then some. Once at Atlanta’s Mart, there are bridges between the three twenty plus story buildings so you do not even have to see the light of day to get from one to the other. This was our fourth year attending and we finally felt that we had the lay of the land down pat…well kind of. By the fourth and final day we finally made it from our room to the correct floor in the hotel where we had to access the bridge across to the Mart, without any detours…and in less than fifteen minutes.

The trip began in usual “Murphy-esque” fashion, bright and early at 5 am. By 10:15 am as we landed, we were greeted with an empty carousel after everyone had claimed their bags, except for Chris. Even though ours were checked together as we were standing next to each other, hers got left in Philly.
 Maybe if she had packed in one of these Vintage beauties, it would have stood out and never been left behind?
We hit the floor of the Mart by noon after waiting with our fellow compatriots in the airport who would also be sleeping in the clothes that they were standing in. (Suitcase arrived next morn.) We had realized early on, that in order to offer the quality that we wanted at Life’s Patina, you had to go to where you could touch and feel the product you were ordering. We always have that control with the things that we find on our picking trips and the pieces that we make but were dismayed upon receiving one of our first orders, to find that the beautifully represented table in the catalogue we had ordered from was…  plywood. Never a good thing, so we headed to Atlanta where I had heard you could find anything and order right then and there.
The choices were many…the displays and showrooms can be overwhelming. Much research is needed before you head South to figure out where you will be heading once you arrive. Conversation at one of the showrooms goes something like this:
“Do we order the silver or gold deer…or both?  What size?  How about those trees?  The chandeliers are pretty cool! Oh wait, did you see that angel? What is the price point on those chandeliers?…  
SQUIRREL!”
The distractions were endless and the choices…overwhelming.
First you need to decide which building to shop…1, 2 or 3. Then you decide which floor. All of the buildings have approximately twenty floors…just like this, 
and a Rib Shack…just like this…appropriately named after one of my sons.
Although most of our eating was done while walking so I wouldn’t really call it eating. Grazing is a much more fitting term. As a ploy to get you into their showrooms and to keep you there upon arriving, many of the showrooms serve some sort of snacking type food and beverages. We followed the breadcrumbs and wound our way around the three buildings based on who was serving what and when. Margaritas at 4:00 on floor 12? We will be there! The best Bloody Marys? We have got you covered.
Besides the decisions of which floor to shop on and what showroom  do you head to once you get to the appropriate floor you also have to decide which tunnel or bridge takes you to the floor you want to end up on. We did not have a pedometer on but if we did, I would assume we clocked many many miles a day. 
At one point, we thought of taking this cute vintage bike from a showroom and pedaling to our next destination, but then we saw this handsome guy and thought that maybe he could give us a lift.
As we walked over to ask him, we glanced at the wall behind him and decided that we did not want to draw attention to him for he might end up like one of his unfortunate friends.
So on ward and upwards we went… 
or on wards and downwards in this case… when we thought we should have been going upwards.
Let’s just say that every now and then we had to hightail it off a down elevator when we were planning on going up…or vise versa.
Pressing your nose into a map book, while carrying on a conversation whilst getting on a crowded escalator in the wrong direction, with a cup of coffee in your hand…is not a pretty picture. Don’t even think about taking an elevator unless you wanted to end up with that cup of coffee pressed against your face and spilling down your coat as the jockeying began to fit one more person on.
Now that you have a visual, you might be able to understand that between the navigation of the buildings and the decisions making needed to find the product we wanted to have shipped home;
fabric choices,
candle choices, “did you smell that one? what about that one?”
how many pieces should we order?
this color?
this color?
or this color?
This product? NO
This alligator? NO (sorry if I misidentified you as an alligator and you are a crocodile
This life size, lighted up scene of a gaggle of trumpet swans surrounding an angel standing beneath a pine tree?  NO
why we sometimes gazed out the window and felt like we should get off the merry go round and take some time out hanging on the ferris wheel. At least we would not have to decide where to get off…
We always knew though, that we could always look forward to the last decision of the day…
which drink to have. 
As we tucked ourselves into bed every night with our computers and our stack of catalogs next to us, we never forgot to email our families our mantra…lest they forget.
So now that I have put my foot in my mouth
with my visuals, I feel that it is only fair that I reveal some of the treasures that we found that will be hitting the floor of the barn this spring…
in my next blog post!
Until then and thanks for reading about our adventure ~ Meg
  1. KSeifert says:

    Always an adventure with you and Chris!! Loved the recap! Can’t wait to see the final picks!