Angry Artist Alley: When they got no cash


If you’re new to artist alley, then you might not understand this. And it happens a LOT more often at conventions now, and well, it’s kind of hard to solve it. I have a lot of solutions, most of which are inconvenient or lack of trust with a customer makes it difficult. I have my methods, other people have other methods, but altogether it’s not a sure way to solve this issue. What’s the issue?

When someone has no cash but a credit card, how do you approach this?

and also: If there’s no wifi, how do I handle the payment?

SAFEST OPTION: Do NOT do transaction without the moo-lah.
However, they might give you the cold shoulder (oh well, it’s not like they could buy it if they didn’t have the cash).

FIND THE CLOSEST ATMS (wifi not needed)

1) Find out if there is an atm in the building where you are selling art. Find every single one. Find the closest banks too.

2)Print out a map of the floor plan of your convention and mark the areas. This is a safety precaution in case the convention does not provide a good enough map. Many conventions take place in hotels, and there are usually one or two atms nearby because of that. Mark all the areas where the atm is on the map on the floor plan of your convention, or local ones. ALSO take note if there are nearby banks at walking distance and write their address.

3)When someone has a credit card, you can do direct them to an atm. If the convention provides a free map in their freebie bags, mark the area where the atm is on the map so they can find it for the future.

CARD READER (wifi needed)

Now, this is if you have a cellphone that has internet service. Otherwise, you will have to pay the hotel area money to use internet (and that usually costs about $60 per person). NOTE: Card readers take a percentage of your transaction. It’s wise to add an extra twenty five cents just to make up for it.

Square:, transaction fee: 2.75% (and $3.75+$0.15 for manual entered transaction)
This is your classic reader. It’s the first and most popular.

Paypal Here:, Transaction fee: 2.7%

It looks like a triangle, and actually takes a smaller percentage of a fee than square. The advantage is that people can use their paypal account, BUT it’s not restricted to that. You can also use normal credit cards if you want too.

CARD READER-OFFLINE (wifi not needed)

Square has the option of doing cellphone transactions offline. They keep the information of the credit card in the system for a day and when wifi is attached, the transaction can be completed. You need to take the chance of having a successful transaction for this to work-hopefully the credit card isn’t busted, or bank suddenly has issues, etc.

Check transactions via. cellphone (wifi needed)

There are some companies, like Chase Bank that has a cellphone app that allows you to photograph the front and back of a check and send it to the bank for the payment.

I don’t like to leave the house to the bank, so when I ask for payments that I want to put in the bank, I request that my clients send a paper check to me. I don’t go to the bank, I just immediately use the Chase app and do the transaction via smartphone. Very nifty. 

If you trust your customer, you can request payment AFTER the convention (wifi not needed)

This is pretty simple: Both of you exchange information about what you want for the commission and the price and a contact, and then wait for them to send you the payment via. paypal. When you receive the payment, you start on the convention and voila! It is up to you if you request for extra money for shipping or if you want to keep it the same price.

Nowadays I only get about two or three commissions a day. So usually for my customers, I will tell them I’ll mail it when I’m done with no additional cost (or give it to them the next day if the con is multiple days). I order a lot of things on amazon, so I have a lot of padded envelopes and I use those to mail my commissions out, and so shipping costs less than two dollars. It’s very helpful for me because I can concentrate on grabbing customers to my table instead of sitting quietly drawing. 

And there you have it. Do you have any other methods? Do share!

Featured artist: Me! (and BlizzardTerrak)


Photo courtesy of BlizzardTerrak, one of my sensei for camera stuff. He’s a great cosplay photographer and has a lot passion for doing it. He came by my table at KrakenCon and snapped one real quick.

You see all that stuff on my table? If you want any of it, it’s likely on my online shop so you can get it there or message me. 

My next article will feature a LOT of artists, so be prepared!

And a list of the EXACT supplies bought on Amazon that I used for my table in that photo:

Whitmor 6070-1723 Wire Storage Cubes Set 4 Black
4-Pack 6AC Gibson Holders – 3 Wire Display w/ Deep Edge – Black
MyCraftSupplies 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 A7 In Resealable Clear Cellophane Plastic Packaging Set of 100
Pack of 50 5×7 Picture Mats with White Core Bevel Cut for 4×6 Pictures Various Colors
100 EcoSwift 8.5×11 Chipboard Cardboard Craft Scrapbook Material Scrapbooking Packaging Sheets Shipping Pads Inserts 8 1/2 inch x 11 inch Chip Board