Chili and Diet Dr Pepper

I officially ran out of
last night at 6:59 p.m., just as the reception was winding down.
The featured dinner was … Skyline Chili in meat and vegetable varieties.
The chili has the familiar texture and appearance, but has a vague
curry aroma. Its non-Scovill spiciness makes it interesting.
Verdict: thumbs up.

Other lines featured hand-carved roast beast (for those who eschew Skyline),
fruit-kebobs (strawberry, honeydew, canteloupe, honeydew, pineapple), and
brie with apricot marmalade. Uncut, the brie looked like a cheesecake.
The dude in front of me apportioned himself a ginormous slice only to be
disappointed when the inner cheese oozed out onto his plate. His embarrassment
benefitted the rest of us. 🙂

The sponsors set up a “Cyber Cafe” to encourage attendees to fraternize with the exhibitors. Throughout the day, scores
camp out on the array of laptops to read email, get stock quotes,
or play Bejeweled. This wouldn’t bother me as much if there
was a wireless link set up so us vendors could maintain tethers to our
respective corporate motherships.

When the line wanes, I pop on briefly to check email. I’m paranoid about public
terminals, especially when people don’t log themselves out of their mail programs,
so I just borrow the cable and connect it to my machine.

Susan knows what
I’m talking about when I say there is a lotta money poured into these events.

For example, we’re charged for:

  • A 9’x10′ space – this is paid when we registered. It’s
    about $3,500 (based on $39/square foot). Back In The Day the
    40×40 spaces would easily hit the $50k range. Height is limited in certain areas.
  • $155.35 for carpet rental. This is no ordinary 9’x10′
    carpet. Well, actually it is: black, tight weave that looks like
    nearly every other piece of carpet covering the concrete floor.
    A rental pad underneath would have doubled the cost.
  • Carpet vacuuming costs $0.25/square foot per day. (Or $90 for the
    four days) This is cheaper than the $200 Networld+InterOp charged in the 90s.
  • Electricity costs $55.38 for a 5A circuit or $86.20 for a 20A circuit. (My laptop and the two display lights would work on a 5A.) We don’t have to pay extra for the house
    electrician to test each power strip we plug in. At a conference I went to several years ago, the prevailing rumor was that declining this service might result in “unreliable power” or
    “unexplained, spontaneous, nocturnal plug severing.” This convention center was where I first heard of IBM’s special power cord that was one foot shorter than standard so the users were not governed by these rules.
  • $68.25 for a “6’L x 42″H Undraped Counter. A motley, jacked-up
    folding table. Hundreds of unremoved staples along its perimeter have been
    used to secure the cheap, white plastic cover and translucent, black
    veil (available as a separate option). In five years, it may be an
    official antique.
  • $78.00 for one Casey Padded Stool It’s a hell of a lot nicer
    alternative to standing all day but, dang, $78 “rental” for a chair
    you’d find in Staple DepotMax for $40.
  • $161.60 for Warehouse crates [sic] late arrival – This is a typo.
    What they meant was “You didn’t use our cousin’s shipping company, so we
    deprioritized it accordingly. You paid two hours’ overtime. Because We
  • $178.50 for wheeling the box from wherever it accrued two hours’
    of late arrival to my booth spot. I swear the case looks like they
    beat it before each show. About ten years ago, we were doing a show in NYC. Our Sun monitor was destroyed. They said: “You didn’t pack
    it safely.” I said: “Bring me the box.” There were two forklift holes through it.
  • Connections to the outside world are breathtakingly expensive.
    The pay-by-day Convention Center wireless available near the cafe is
    deliberately blocked in the exhibit hall because … they want you to buy
    a shared T1 (1.5Mbps) for $895, limited to 1 computer connection.
    Fractional ethernet lines are avialable for $745 (512Kbps) or $395 (shared 56Kbps).
    For obvious reasons, we did not opt for this.
    For comparison, we pay ~$400 for a month for our second T1 line at the office.
  • Oxygen and restrooms are complimentary!
  • 2 thoughts on “Chillinati”

    1. I wasn’t too big on Skyline when we visited the sister-not-in-law in Cincy a few years ago. But then, I like my chilli hot rather than sweet.

      And I’ve always wondered with conventions: would it be cheaper over the long haul to just ship in all of the crap they make you rent (stool, carpet, counter/table). Yeah, $900 for a a T1 line is like…something really outrageously expensive. OTOH, it’s why I’ve done so many hard-drive based presentations in my working life 🙂 Glad to see you’re getting out on the town a bit though. Good photos!

    2. They said: “You didn’t pack it safely.” I said: “Bring me the box.” There were two forklift holes through it.

      Man, I would loved to have seen that. Or, at the very least, love to have seen the explanation.

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