Convention Countdown–Day "Eeeeeekk!"

Set up day (Tuesday).

It started out as such a lovely day. Got down to the office. Packed the truck in less than 30 minutes. Did a few leisurely office type things (pay bills, filled a few orders, chatted with an ex-employee who dropped in to say hello…). Then we headed off to the South Towne Convention Center in Sandy. Life was good.

We entered the convention hall around 10:00 a.m. It was such a beehive of activity. People bringing in their product, setting up their booths. The air was electric with excitement. And noise. Hammering. Buzz saws. Other miscellaneous bangs and booms.

We found our area and started to set up. Then we realized we’d left a major portion of our display back at the office. Another major part of the booth that was supposed to be available for pick-up early Tuesday morning, wasn’t. These two parts had to go in first. None of the other pieces could be put together or set up until these were in place.

So back we went to the office for the one part. Then to the store to find a make-do for the other part. (I said a prayer of thanks that: 1] our office is very close by; not in Maine or Florida or even Manti; and 2] Sam Walton lived during my lifetime.)

We had planned to be done by 2:00 p.m., but didn’t have all our pieces together until 3:00 p.m. After that it went fairly smoothly. Sort of.

We were out of there by 4:15 p.m. and went straight from there to one printer to get most of our remaining promo pieces. The receptionist said, “But you picked up all of your catalogs the other day. I don’t have anything else left in the computer for you…” Fortunately, the printer was as disorganized as us. The jobs were there and done, just not in the computer.

And I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but…lest you think I’m the only rattled, last minute publisher–while I was there at the printers another publisher arrived to get their stuff. And no less that four others were having their stuff still coming off the doc and being collated and folded and stapled and all that jazz. I just love it when I hear that. (Yes, I have an evil streak. Sorry.)

And I’m not the only one with the set-up problems. Another publisher and friend was cooling their heels waiting for product to be delivered to the convention hall. Another had left their backdrop at their office. Others couldn’t get their carpet to fit. And all over the place I heard loud and very stressed voices saying things like, “Where is that xyz? I know I packed it!” and “That doesn’t fit together right. Where is this piece supposed to go?” and “Where is so-and-so? They were supposed to be here an hour ago.”

All that anxiety just makes it sweeter when your booth is done and you can step back and take a look at it and it looks good. But we weren’t to that point yet. We had still more stuff to pick up.

So after we get the stuff from one printer, we go pick up stuff at another printer. That was all done and looked beautiful. Check off another thing from the list.

Went to pick up the 60 items from that never-to-be-named store which has employees who work for the devil (grumble, grumble–do I sound like Super Dale? [local joke])…first, “We only have 24 of them.” Then we ask, “Is that counting the 22 that were on your shelf yesterday?” No. Duh. So then we were up to 46. “Well, we have some in clear, not frosted…” Desperate, we took those. Now we had 54. “Oh, and here are some black ones…” Took those too. Ended up with 58, which was close enough. So they go to collect them all, and “You’re going to kill us. Those frosted ones you wanted aren’t frosted after all. They’re clear…”

At this point, I don’t even care. And I’m in a hurry because, you know, I have a personal life too and I was late for a very important date. Rushed home–smelling like a construction worker. (I mean no offense to construction workers all over the world. I just don’t particularly want to smell like one. My husband doesn’t really like it when I smell like one either.) Anyway, hurried to get ready. Went to the event. Home around midnght (what was I thinking?!!) Two seconds after I fell asleep the alarm went off and it was CONVENTION DAY!!!

[P.S. I tried to get some photos on set-up day with the booths under construction, but they really turned out dark and you can’t see anything. Sorry. Will try to get some during the convention itself.]

[P.P.S. Will report on the actual convention itself this weekend. Too busy to do more right now.]