At the age of 24, I started in my first full fledged “tradeshow” position. Even though I’d been around tradeshows throughout my life, I was GREEN! I consider myself a quick learner, and the programs the company used were DOS based (if you don’t know what that means, you’re probably significantly younger than me), so it wasn’t a difficult training, but learning to handle the people in the tradeshow world was a pretty significant learning curve!
Now, the “normal” person I’d learned to handle in the retail world would complain about a return policy, the cost of an item, or just plain didn’t want to pay, so they would walk out of the fitting room with layers upon layers of clothing on (which I then had the pleasure of calling the police as they walked out the door). Those people were a cake walk compared to some of the first, and continued, experiences I have had with exhibitors!
My first tradeshow memories include:
Someone walking out the door carrying an 8ft long table not belonging to them, clearly stamped with the company name it did belong to and that person’s reasoning that they should keep it was that they had had the table for years. Stealing is stealing regardless how long ago it happened!
Watching a “lost children” tent perpetually fill up with unclaimed kids throughout the course of a show. Apparently we were running a daycare and didn’t know it.
And my personal favorite early memory, the guy who was so irate with a probably $125 onsite service cost, that he felt that actually flinging the check at me like a frisbee would help make his case. It didn’t.
It took a lot of tears and frustration to get through that first year, but I learned not to take it personally and to laugh about the absurdity of the situations I was constantly involved in.