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Anyone who believes that men and women are equal has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present.” ~ Unknown


November 24, 2010
By Steve Milcik

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Anyone who believes that men and women are equal has never seen a man trying to wrap a Christmas present.” ~ Unknown

Wow. Simply wow. Based on the songs ringing through the halls of my local mall, the holiday season is once again upon us . . . and I haven’t even got the last of my Halloween makeup off yet! I regard the coming festivities with a cautious eye, because history has demonstrated that despite the joyous pomp and circumstance of the moment, Christmas can be a train-wreck of gigantic proportions. I decided that this year, I would get ahead of the game by purchasing all my gifts immediately, rather than wait for the last moment and risk the wrath of my new girlfriend by giving her an Old Spice Gift Pack from the local 24-hour pharmacy. I decided to buy her a beautiful diamond ring and when I told a mutual friend about this, he mentioned that she had her heart set on one of those sporty, four-wheel-drive vehicles. I knew this already but . . . where was I going to find a fake Jeep?

Note to the ladies: I’ll probably be single again in January.

Back to the mall . . . as I was dodging the hordes of frantic shoppers, I happened to walk by a shop that specialized in luggage. This, of course, caused me to start thinking about travel, and the looming trade-show season that is only a heartbeat away.

Every January, salespeople around North America feel a shiver run down their spines, and it isn’t from the frigid temperatures outside their door. They all know that shortly their lives will be a blur of crowded airports, takeoffs and landings, strange hotel beds, all-you-can-eat buffets and 10-hour days of standing and smiling at strangers. This is why the commission structure was created, because no sane person would do this for a straight salary. When you know that every hand you shake has the potential of putting a little coin in your pocket, you find the inner strength necessary to not fall asleep at the booth even if you were dancing on a table at the Canadian Hospitality Suite the night before. As I grow older, I grow wiser (and balder, but that’s another story). I have learned that despite the opportunity to fatten my wallet, the real pleasure derived from trade shows is in reaching out and touching the friends I’ve made over the years. Which reminds me . . . I wonder if Her Majesty, She of the Infinite Ire and Swift and Painful Floggings, Queen Mandy Wellnitz, still has that restraining order out on me?

Truthfully, I look forward to watching the belt-sander races in Surrey, B.C., and the festivities of the annual gala dinner. I can’t wait to land in Saskatoon for the Prairie show and challenge my fellow passengers to a death-match to secure the only taxi in town. I hope to get out to the Ontario tabletopper, but I think that there may still be a contract on my head from a group of irate Maple Leafs fans who were upset when I posted a fake announcement on my Facebook page that the team had announced the hiring of a new coach from the Chinese Olympic Team . . . Win Wun Soon. The Quebec show is always a blast, and I hope to continue the tradition of teaching English exhibitors the proper pronunciation of “deux steamies avec une poutine.” Sadly, I may not make it out to the Atlantic show this year even though the thought of a bowl of steaming chowder and Olivia D’Eon’s smiling face are incredibly tempting. All of these shows take their toll, but every mile travelled to be with the marvellous folks who make up the CRA and the Canadian rental industry is time well spent.

Of course, no trade-show agenda would be complete without mentioning the Big Daddy of them all, the ARA Rental Show. This year, the venue returns to the pristine and natural beauty of Las Vegas, home of the two-gallon margarita, bathroom slot machines and Celine Dion. This show is one that demands comfy shoes, plenty of water and a plan, if you are an attendee. There is so much to see and do that without pre-planning your days, you risk missing out on vendors and products of interest. Couple the size and scope of the event with the educational classes, off-site excursions and after-show celebrations, and it’s pretty much guaranteed you won’t be able to experience everything that is available to you . . . this time. That’s the cool thing about annual events: they happen every year!

If you do make it out to Las Vegas though, make sure you put a check mark beside the Canadian Hospitality Night event. This is always a highlight of the week, and one that will leave you with fond memories . . . or, in my case, a tattoo. Which reminds me: I still need to think up an explanation for my girlfriend as to why I have a tattoo of CRS editor Mike Davey on my left buttock.


Steve Milcik writes from Montreal, Que., and when he isn’t running away from men in white coats with nets, he sells Texada’s Systematic Rental Management Software. You can write him or add his address to your spam filter at smilcik@texadasoftware.com.


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