Another day, another trade show. Possibly the worst trade show experience ever. The kind of bad day that makes you want to quit this line of work and become a waitress.
Yes, it was that bad.
First, when we got to our booth there was nothing there. There was a carpet (which means they had to have received our order forms) and a sign with out name on it. No boxes, no chairs, no tables. Nothing else. Just a blue carpet.
We were in aisle 800. I had to schlep it all the way down to aisle 4700 to talk to exhibitor services. They, of course, apologized profusely, sent someone over to our booth to confirm that I was telling the truth, and promised immediate attention. 10 mins pass. 20 mins pass. 30 mins pass. 45 mins pass!! At this point I decide to pay them another visit. Miraculously 2 tables appear at our booth. Not the tables we ordered, but hey, its a start. We are no longer just standing there in a 10x20 space with gun cases. We couldn't even open the cases because we had no place to put the guns. The show has opened by this point of course, and we are literally just standing there looking stupid.
So I wait another 30 mins, thinking that sooner or later the correct tables will show up, plus the other items I ordered and my boxes that had been shipped in.
So I go walking it down to aisle 4700 again (this takes a good ten minutes just to walk it- it is the equivalent of 3 city blocks mind you). I raise a very proper but pointed fuss. A very nice young woman apologizes profusely and promises to fix the situation immediately. A nice young man promises that he had just seen our boxes and would have them to the booth immediately. I go walking it back the 3 blocks to our booth.
After another hour I give up and go back over to the service desk. The nice young lady is gone, so I talk to someone else. Somehow the nice young lady has been fired since my last visit to them. And then the new lady actually has the nerve to ask for more payment. I very nicely let her know "over my dead body." She promises everything will be fixed in a few minutes. I go back again to the booth, and happen to run into the show manager. He's a very nice man and so I very nicely let him know everything that had been screwed up. He promises action immediately, but mumbles something about lunch time. I go to the booth certain that this is the last time.
Again another 45 minutes later I finally resort to doing the unthinkable. I call the service company's headquarters in Las Vegas and very politely explained that I am an exhibitor and that I am about ready to blow a gasket if they don't fix my situation. I also demanded to speak to the highest level person available. (It was probably an intern, but we won't go there.) They PROMISE me something will be done immediately. And I reminded them that I wasn't going to be paying for any of this after the very bad day they have put me through. They agreed, of course.
Twenty minutes later (just about how long it took for me to plan a hostage situation until I got my tables and chairs) the tables and chairs finally arrived. I nearly kissed the booth man, but restrained myself appropriately. Ten minutes later another man showed up with tables. And ten minutes after that another man with more tables. Keep in mind this is 30 minutes to the end of the first day of this show. But at least we finally got tables and chairs.
Now, where are my boxes? Hmm... Fed Ex says they are there. Exhibitor Services says they are there. But no one can tell me where "there" is. I made it perfectly clear (without showing my more venomous side) that my boxes will miraculously appear in my booth in the morning, no questions asked and no more threats made. But somehow I have no faith that it will happen.
Needless to say, it was a long cranky day. I wasn't happy. My booth partner wasn't happy. No one was happy, except for the JROTC kids who like to pick up the guns and point them at each other. And that doesn't make the rest of us very happy.
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