Saturday, October 01, 2005

Booth Surprises

So after the surprises and non-upgrade at the hotel (honestly, you ALWAYS upgrade the planner's room! everyone knows this!! what were they thinking!?), I went over to the convention center. Happily it was only 2 blocks away, which is so much better than we had it in New Orleans and Los Angeles. (But not as close as it was in Vegas.) Set up of a trade show can be a) completely disastrous (see last year's experiences in Vegas when the booth fell on our heads- not the 2 story one thankfully), b) nearly disastrous (see last year's experience in LA when I lost my cool with show management over stupid rules), c) hard work, and d) completely done by someone else so that I never have to know if a, b, or c happened. This year was a combination of c and d.

When I got to the booth our install company was happily on site doing their thing. Much to my surprise though, they didn't look happy, and were pulling up the carpet. We (and by we, I mean mostly me and a few superiors that agreed with my logic) had decided to save a few dollars and use an outside company to provide our carpet for the booth. This theoretically saved us $3,000. We had guarantees from the outside vendor that they would match dye lots and there would be no way to know we weren't using the same carpet as everyone else. Ha. Yeah right. Lesson #1- shortcuts can be very expensive. This is a 2-story booth. We only needed new carpet for the first floor where there is a lot more foot traffic. The top floor was going to use last year's carpet. See the pics to find my surprise.

Needless to say, the dye lots didn't exactly match. So we (and by we, I mean the lovely men who are paid to do the install, and not me), had to pull the carpet up, and make some last minute changes. Not a good surprise, but not a massive disaster. (I should probably point out here that this trip was great only because there were no massive disasters. Which just may mean I am starting to get slightly more competent and capable at my job, and a little less calamity prone!) Next it was on to the gun lock up. The main reason for me to fly in a day early was so I could pick up the shipped in guns from the floor of the show (where things tend to get stolen), and take them over to exhibitor weapons lock up (we are not the only weapons company at this show, and therefore a room and guard is provided for such things). Now, last year, this was a huge problem for me. We were required to pay for a security guard to sit in our booth over night (not cheap), AND take all of our guns to lock up every night. No one had told me about the lock up business. (Still a slightly touchy subject with me.) I was seriously stressed at this point last year, and when I was told about lock up, I pretty much lost my cool. So I was a little nervous about going to this year's lock up alone. What if they had black listed me or something? But thankfully, the Miami PD didn't know anything about my screaming fit last year, and weapons registration went fine. There was one little surprise when the finest Miami PD had to offer for the gun registration didn't know how to disassemble a pistol, and I had to show him how to see that the firing pin had been removed. There was great humor in this only because I completely acted like I knew what I was doing, having only been taught how to do this the day before when we packed the guns. The officer claimed it was because he wasn't familiar with Berettas. So I had him show me his Sig and I showed it to him on his pistol too. Sometimes its fun for people to have such low expectations of me just because I am female and blonde. It makes it easier for me to rise above their expectations!

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