This ‘n’ That
Last week one of my favorite annual events took place: the Industrial Trade Show. It’s held each year at Texas City’s Doyle Convention Center and always gets a good turnout.
The 2015 show drew almost 90 exhibitors. The booths filled the main room of the convention center and spilled out into the lobby.
What attracts someone like me, who has no connection to any industrial trade business, making sure I always put it on my calendar every April?
First of all, it’s a great opportunity to visit with people from all over the county. I always run into folks I haven’t seen in ages. It’s fun to catch up on what’s going on in their lives.
With more than 80 booths to tour, I’ve found that you can always learn something new about one subject or another. In addition to industrial trade-related businesses, this year’s show also featured representatives of financial investing companies, credit unions, employment services, restaurants, caterers and much more.
The first thing to do when you arrive in the lobby of the Doyle Center is to fill out an entry for a free door prize raffle. At the same time you’ll receive free tickets entitling you to a barbecue sandwich, chips and a drink.
The best thing to do is stash these tickets away until you’ve finished touring all the booths. You don’t want to juggle all that food while stopping by each of the 89 booths. It’s a messy accident just waiting to happen.
Next, you find a source of free plastic or cloth tote bags and get one. You’ll need it for all the loot that awaits you.
At each booth, the exhibitor will have brochures and other advertising materials about the sponsoring business. But better still, there’s usually a container filled with delicious candy.
We’re talking peanut butter cups, Hershey miniatures, tootsie rolls and other goodies. It’s an adult version of trick or treat. Your tote bag will start filling up quickly.
But many booths offer even better goodies – you’ll never have to buy another ballpoint pen the rest of the year. In previous years I’ve scored all kinds of note pads, sticky notes and other stationery items.
Drinks coozies are favorite giveaways. You’ll receive enough to throw a really great party during which all your guests’ drinks will stay cold.
Then there are the really special, over-the-top freebies. Last year I scored rubber duckies that my grandchildren love to play with at bath tine.
This year I picked up a free ear buds to use with an iPhone, iPod or other techie gizmo. Then there was a pen holder to stick to your hard hat, dashboard, desk or filing cabinet. Anything that keeps my pen where it belongs and prevents family or friends from wandering off with it is a true treasure.
Probably my favorite giveaway was a pen that’s also a flashlight. I’m always needing a flash light at odd times, when my iPhone with built-in flash light isn’t handy.
Another favorite freebie was a ballpoint pen that is also a stylus. I really need this when texting or e mailing on my phone. These gadgets aren’t always easy to find, and some are a little pricy. So finding a free one at the Trade Show was like discovering a real treasure.
The message of today’s column is short and simple: mark your 2016 calendar for the next Industrial Trade Show so you won’t miss it.