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I am pooped.  I mean like dazed and delirious pooped.  This last weekend the hubby and I manned the booth at the Lancaster County Home and Garden show.  Though it doesn’t seem like much work, the carry-over afterwards is always a load, not to mention you’re just tired before you start the work week again.

This was our third year of participating in the show and each year the experience has been different.  Our first year we were overwhelmed by the response we got and how much work we took in.  Our second year we were placed in a different location and felt like we were a bit blocked from people and therefore didn’t talk to many people at all.  This year our location was different yet again, but was met with more favorable business and well worth the time.  What I find funny is that though each year for us has been different, there are several qualities that have stayed the same.  Listed below are the top 5 things anyone who has ever run a booth at a home show will say is true:

#5.  Spending time at a home show is kind of like waiting in a hospital.For some crazy reason NOT doing anything but sitting wears you out.  Why is that?  I can’t put my finger on it, but it is so true.  Friday’s home show ran from 1 pm – 9 pm, Saturday’s ran from 10 am – 8 pm and Sunday’s was from 10 am – 5 pm.  When I think about the total hours it’s not much different than a typical work day but just sitting and waiting and waiting and sitting is exhausting!!  I was actually ready to come back to work so I could get rested up.  Crazy!

#4.  All exhibitors battle this tiredness in different ways.  However “tired bonds” are formed with these poor souls as we sit and wait. When you’re sitting at your booth and no one is coming, you start staring off into space – typically at the booths across from you.  Then they stare at you.  At some point in the blank stares you realize you’re both staring at each other and then give each other that “ you’re sick and tired of this too, huh?” look.  This leads to conversation and helps a little in surviving the lulls of potential customers stopping by your booth.

This year one exhibitor brought his remote controlled toys and flew them around the event center.  I thought it a brilliant idea.  It kept him preoccupied and gave the rest of us something to stare at – that wasn’t each other!

#3.  You learn how to perfect odd skills. Last year, I got VERY good and twiddling my thumbs and picking my nose.  I mean, we are talking Olympic level good.   I saw a guy this year who had made a contest for his potential customers that required them to shoot a small basketball into a small hoop –( if they made the shot they got a certain percentage off their purchased product).  During his down time, he was shooting from all different angles honing his mini-hoops skills.  I’ve seen guys eating candy and then fold the wrappers into unique creations or designs like mini origami.  As I mentioned above, a guy this year brought his remote controlled toys.  You gotta do what you gotta do.

#2.   You start taking note of all the free stuff people are collecting and somehow think you can’t live without it.When people stop by your booth, more than likely they have been to other booths prior to yours.  They have with them a collection of free stuff they’ve collected along the way.  They’ll have bags from local banks, free pens and pencils, candy, notepads and the like.  However, there’s always that one booth who hands out a STAND OUT freebie.  This year it was a color-changing cup.  If you put cold liquid in, it would change colors.  All of us with kids made a mad dash to that booth so we could impress our children with the coolest freebie the home show had to offer. (I know, we need help, but home-show-weariness does crazy things to your mind! There’s a reason this post is called HOME SHOW HANGOVER and not HOME SHOW HARMONY).

#1.  Even if there is an hour(or more) left, if you haven’t talked to someone in a long stretch you pack up and leave.This particular home show was scheduled over the weekend of Valentine’s Day.   Now, during the day we had quite the crowd but at about 5 pm there was almost NO ONE in the building except us poor exhibitors.  Evidently, going to the home show and purchasing a septic system wasn’t anybody’s idea of romance.  (Shocker.)  But it wasn’t like we were alone in this situation.  No one was taking their sweetheart to buy a roof, counter tops, or mowers either.  At six-thirty the hubs and I decided to hit the road – and we weren’t the only cars leaving the parking lot.

There you have it – things you do to survive a home show.  The next time you attend one, take this information to heart.  And, if by chance you know what the STAND OUT freebie is as you stroll around – grab a couple extra and gift a dazed exhibitor.  They’ll love you for it!