Yesterday Lynnae and I went to the Homemakers Expo and the best thing about it was that I got a free back-issue Popular Mechanics which will live aside the toilet for the next few weeks. The second best thing was that we had media passes and didn’t waste R45 getting in.
I guess the problem with shows like this is that all the big vendors are totally over them. Why else would companies like Defy, Bosch, Smeg etc not be there? I can only imagine (as someone who has a tiny bit of trade show experience) that these companies learnt a long time ago that trade shows cost a bucketload of cash to put together and generally just frustrate your staff who end up having to work on weekends.
Nobody buys anything at trade shows, except, Wonder Mops (and other idiotic things like an egg cracking device).
Wait, picture this: We walk past a stand for something along the lines of “The Amazing Egg Cracker 6000”. Lynnae sighs and wants to walk on, but I, in a trainwreckian desire to hurt myself decide I *have* to know how they sell this thing. I walk over and ask for a demonstration. So the poor girl, who’s run out of eggs, begins “So what’s the problem with cracking eggs? Simple, you crack it on the side of the pan and egg ends up on your fingers, eggshells in the pan, and you invariably break the yolk!” she says, like she’s probably said over a thousand times in the last 5 hours. She looks up at me for that reciprocal head-nod.
I shake my head and say “Not really”.
She’s momentarily stunned by then carries on undeterred, “Well, with the Miracle Egg 6000 that’ll never happen again, you just put the egg in the device and squeeze the handle and instantly you have a perfectly cracked egg.”
“Thanks” I said as I walked away. I imagine that this is a wonderful invention for people with physical disabilities but for everyone else I think you’d be better off just buying 6 eggs and practicing on a Sunday afternoon. I’ve perfected (with a little help from my private chef) the single egg separation technique where you separate the egg white and yolk with the egg shell… Gotta learn how to do that with one hand though.
But, slightly more mind blowing than the egg cracker 6000 is the perpetual rollout of Wonder Mops and Miracle Orange Fibre stuff. The perveyors of this modern day snake oil have their routine so slick that you find yourself entranced by the bright colours and the disturbingly charming man with the Britney Spears microphone and smooth talking demeanor who occationally winks at the woman in the front row.
I was reminded of the old Westerns where the travelling salesmen stands beside his wagon and annouces his miracle cures for athritis and the black lung. Often telling the townsfolk that it is the most popular thing in the big cities and was invented in New York!
If there is one thing I remember from my youth (and we’re talking 20 years ago now) it’s the miracle mops, incredible dirt trapping floor mats and designed by NASA multicoloured dusters being sold at tradeshows (like Design For Living etc)… WHAT THE HELL DOES NASA NEED A MULTICOLOURED DUSTER FOR?
People! Nothing has changed in the past 20 years… Just like your multi-action, triple-flex, anti-bacterial, pro-enzyme, plaque-fighting toothbrush with the matrix-eque 3D graphics advertisements, everything at tradeshows is a big lie to make you pay too much for crap you don’t actually need.
Which is why the people who sell stuff you do actually need aren’t at the trade shows.