07 Mar. 2007
SETI League
PriUPS Project

It's Been A Whinle

I haven't gotten in a good whine about anything for weeks.  My biggest complaint, I see, was about T-shirt shrinkage over the ages, and that was weeks ago and not even the focus of the blogitem.  So let me aver a selection of complaints right now before the meds kick in.  The subject and object of my vexation and vitriol today is the false urgency exhibited by time-bound organizations such as trade shows and media and their lickspittle cliques of appeasers, along with the inexcusable pestering they commit, ostensibly on account of timeliness.  OK?

(No I'm not done yet.  I have examples.)

Example:  When you sign up to exhibit at a trade show, you are inundated with junk faxes offering services such as display equipment rental, floral displays, booth models, and shipping services.  Especially for big shows, such as NAB, and shows in Las Vegas, such as NAB, they are merciless.  Practically every day for months before the show we get multi-page missives touting these services.  Not only is it annoying, it's illegal, since we have no business relationship with these companies.

Even worse example:  One of the equipment rental companies perpetually tries to compete with the others by offering bribes.  "Rent our plasma display and we'll send you a $50 American Express gift card."  "We'll send you" of course refers to the person who puts in the order, not the company that pays for it.  Can you say "commercial bribery?"  I hope the Massachusetts Attorney General can say it. We filed a formal complaint.

Not to mention racket:  Oh yeswhen you rent a piece of equipment from these scoundrels (members of the VTSU, I'm sure), the price is about half of what it would cost you to purchase it.  This for typically only a two- to five-day rental.  I wonder if it wouldn't be a good business proposition to have a number of exhibitors chip in for a small storage room in Las Vegas as there are so many shows there.  They could buy all the display goodies they need, the storage space would probably be cheaper than the shipping charges for each show, and after a year or so the equipment would have paid for itself several times compared to the outrageous rental charge.  Depending on its condition, after a number of shows it could be used some more or finally shipped home and disbursed.

Why do the vendors act this way?  The vast majority of commercial advertisers will advertise in magazines, send a postal plea, and otherwise conform to practices that aren't guaranteed to irritate me.  I think it has to do with the false sense of urgency engendered by a hard deadline.  The show is exactly three weeks from today; of course we have to send a fax to make sure you get it on time.  True, except that the show has been scheduled to be three weeks from today for the last three years, and it could easily be sent in the post.  Grrrr*.

Q:  You mentioned media, too.
A:  I see you're a glutton for whinage.

I did.  What is it about magazines that makes them think it's OK to be as pestiferous as the trade show advertisers, with the additional annoyance of having 12 or sometimes even more issues every year?  If blizzard were a verb, that would be what they do.  And I might add that shipping companies are slime from the same vat.  I could go on, but I'm sure you see the point.  I'll end this with the ultimate egregious example.

Ultimate Egregious Example:  A number of years ago, on a Friday evening, I noticed a fax had just arrived.  It was a request from a magazine for literature on a range of products for their "annual issue."  Normally this is appreciated:  The magazine gets info to make their directory more nearly complete, we get "free advertising," and everyone is happy.  But this request, the one that came in Friday evening, was urgent.  It pointed out that the deadline for receipt of the info was the following Monday morning!  Nothing would do but that I accumulate the brochures required, deliver it to or have it collected by an air express outfit, and pay a fortune to get it to the magazine on Monday.  They even made the point of the Monday deadline in big print.  I suppose there are occasions on which "the press" has an urgent need for routine information, but this was for their "annual issue," i.e., a directory that was planned for at least a year in advance.  You can imagine just how much effort and money we spent accommodating their lack of planning.  I think my response to them was something like "I see this is your annual issue.  Perhaps since it's been so long since the last one that you forgot?"

Q:  Well, that was certainly a charming blogitem.  Do you feel better now?
A:  Not really.  It's late and much too cold here.  I dislike even thinking about these scum.  But at least my shoes aren't too tight.

*That was not an "upset" Grrrr, since I no longer get upset about junk faxes.  Rather it was a "revenge" Grrrr.

NP:  "Nickel Romeo" - The Bangles

Richard Factor

Yesterday  |  Tomorrow