Trade Shows

I generally don’t bother going to trade shows anymore (if you want to schmooze me, buy me dinner or invite me to your Christmas party), but my favourite thing about them was always the little logo-covered gimicks that the companies would have at their booths so that people would remember their name.

Before I decided I didn’t want to live as a pack-rat any longer, I used to collect them. I would come home with a bag full of dodgy pens, dorky caps, ugly t-shirts, coffee mugs, mini-mascots, free software, and random objects made out of foam. The only really useful things I ever picked up were a 16MB USB key and a USB phone charger.

The intelligent companies had asked themselves “what object might someone keep long enough to see our logo the next time they need our product or service”. The ones who answered “ugly merchandise” or “foam stuff with our logo on it” were clearly delusional about whether they were really a smart company.

The reason this comes up now is that the company I work for has a booth at a trade show, and they have purchased two large boxes of coloured foam balls with the company name on them. A choice selection of yellow, orange, red and blue balls are sitting in a clear glass bowl that, presumably, will be at the front of the stand for people to take a ball from. I predict that most of the balls will still be in the bowl at the end of the trade show, and that the boxes will sit around the office (most likely under my desk) for as long as the company continues to exist.

My suggestion that (to continue the obvious clown theme) the staff manning the booth be made to wear big floppy shoes and revolving bow ties was not a popular one.

Update: The trade show is over and 90% of the foam balls are gone. People are morons.

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