Friday, February 23, 2007

Bad exhibitors

early packing up
Originally uploaded by Phil_Parker.
Towards the end of every model railway show you will notice the exhibitors being bad. Breaking the rules. Doing terrible acts.

They will be surreptitiously packing up.

It doesn’t seem to matter what time the exhibition finishes, you always seem to feel the need to tidy things away a little early. In our case spare stock will go back in the stock-box instead of littering the fiddle yard. Trains will go in and never come out or at least the wagons won’t.

Some people actually start dismantling bits of layout but I have to say this is going a bit far. If you need to remove the fascia to get home at a reasonable time then you’ve travelled too far or built a model that takes too long to dismantle.

All of this was very evident at Harrogate last weekend. The organisers had written very clearly that there was to be no packing up before the 5pm finish. I expect that this is partly a health and safety thing since you don’t want members of the public wandering around while bits of wood are flying. Mostly though I think that because they are used to running caravan shows and therefore not comfortable with people who have to be paid to attend, so they wanted to extract full value for money out of us.

Perhaps I can offer a few pointers:
1) We haven’t been paid, we got expenses, or to be precise petrol money. Expenses, when you are at work, include an amount to cover the other costs of running a vehicle. We had to prove receipts for everything, hence we only covered the fuel. No one makes a profit.
2) We aren’t that bothered whether you spot us doing this. Future invites will be based on the layouts appearing in the magazine, not on the number of wagons visible at 5pm.
3) If you are going to send some round to check, don’t make them wear a sweatshirt saying “Exhibition Organiser” on the back.

Now you might think that this is all very unfair to the public. They’ve paid to come to a show and we haven stopped playing early. I’m afraid this is true but most exhibitors are quite professional about it. If there is a real crowd than trains run. If all you see on the other side of the barrier are a couple of other exhibitors wandering around then or some bored punters eaking out their tickets by staying in the hall but only giving models a cursory glance, it’s only natural that the enthusiasm wains after 2 or more days of performing.

A useful hint to any prospective visitor – coming in to a show an hour before the end is not the best way to see everything. It sounds obvious but most shows have them. People busy running around attempting to view all the models and shop at all the trade stands.

Why ?

1 comment:

tomdg said...

Oops - that was me at the Leamington show last year ;)

My excuse? I was busy all weekend and didn't get there until 2:30 on Sunday. Also, I wasn't expecting my son (three-and-a-half at the time) to be so fascinated by the layouts that we'd still be there at closing time.

Anyhow, I didn't mind the fact that people were taking things apart around us. I have to go to work on Monday too, so I can imagine what it's like for them. Anyhow, they kept the trains running (and responded to my son's requests to vary the timetable), so it would have been rather churlish of me to complain.

Besides - I like the feeling of being there while everything's being taken down. It feels priveleged, like having a backstage pass; and the stalls are less busy, so it's easier to chat to the people running them.