I fucking hate trade shows.
Last year I was entrusted with organizing a trade show for this company I used to work for. It was a huge photography trade show that took place at the Javits Center in the middle of Manhattan.
A few months beforehand I felt that I had everything under control. As we got closer to the event I realized a few logistical elements were gonna come down to the wire but I was still confident that everything would come together in time.
The weekend before the show I flew to California for Beach Goth Fest 2014. Beach Goth is an annual psychedelic music festival that’s run and headlined by a band called The Growlers. I had a fun weekend, nothing too debaucherous, and I caught a red-eye back to New York on Sunday night.
I landed and caught a cab from the airport straight to the office. As I began to load the truck with all the trade show gear I began to feel the onset of some type of sickness. Stiff neck, lightheadedness and a fever.
The next few days were an absolute nightmare. For a variety of reasons I was nowhere near ready for the show that was scheduled to begin on the Thursday. And with each passing minute I started to feel worse.
The main issue was that due to some bad information I’d received from the organizers, I was unable to load all our gear from the truck into the Javits Center through the freight entrance. This meant I had to haul all our heavy gear (we had a collapsible steel booth) in through the front entrance and up several flights of stairs by hand.
By Thursday I was a physical wreck. If I’d seen a doctor on the Tuesday I could’ve easily gotten a note telling me to stay home for the rest of the week but if I couldn’t as I was the only one who knew how to set up the booth. I’m guessing I picked up some type of vicious virus at some point during my time in Cali.
My troubles didn’t end there. For the next few days I had to work at the trade show whilst feeling like Satan was living inside me.
For starters, who the fuck likes going to trade shows? If you’re one of these people and you’re in my life do me a favor and delete my number from your phone.
As far as I could gather the people who love trade shows the most are crusty old men who love free shit.
Personally I hate free shit. The problem with free shit isn’t the free shit itself it’s the fact you have to be around people who love free shit to get the free shit.
I also think business owners severely overestimate how much a trade show could potentially help their business. The only trade shows that make any broader impact are those that carry weight outside their industry i.e. The Oscars, The Tony’s, The Grammy’s etc. A sixty-five year old man called Rupert from Wyoming really isn’t gonna help bring your business to the masses just because he dug your free fridge magnet.
The thing that bugs me the most about trade shows is their artificial nature. Why are we so intent on creating make-believe worlds and communities inside soulless convention centers?
But that’s a slippery line of thinking.
Does your life lack sustenance? Are you stuck inside a plastic capitalistic nightmare like the narrator from Fight Club? Are you too unimaginative to summon your inner Tyler Durden to break you free?
Are you living your life stuck inside a trade show?