I was manning the booth at the DRJ conference today when a funny thing happend: the lights went out. Funny, that.
An hour later, when I had to leave to go to the airport, electricity (at least the circuit our booth was on) had still not been restored. I just couldn’t help but be amused at the irony of the lights going out at a conference dedicated to disaster recovery and business continuity.
For those of you who’ve never exhibited at a conference, let me tell you — it is a business. They make all kind of money at these things. (I’m not just talking DRJ. I’m talking about all these shows.) After you’ve payed thousands (or sometimes tens of thousands) of dollars for a 10×10 space, or even more for a 20×10 or 40×10 space, you’re forced to rent everything to go in it, like carpet, chairs, electricity — even trash cans. They charge you just enough money to be painful, but not to be so painful that you’d consider bringing your own stuff. If you brought your own carpet, you’d have to pay to ship it AND pay the union to bring it from the shipping dock to your booth, AND bring it back to the shipping dock and give it to the shipper. Let’s say all that would cost you $200. So they’ll rent you that 10×10 piece of carpet for only $150. That, of course, doesn’t come with vacumming. Would you like to buy and ship your own vaccuum, or pay $117 dollars to have your booth vacuumed? (I remember once renting a $5 plastic trash can for $10. While I could buy a $5 can, I’m required by contract to use their union to get it from the dock to my booth. That’ll be $150, please. FINE! I’ll rent the can.)
So when DRJ failed to supply us with electricity, they did the same thing that you do when your company goes down and your DR/BC plan (or lack thereof) kicks in. Except in this case, there was apparently no BC plan. (It’s not like San Diego or the hotel lost power, mind you. Somebody flipped a breaker somewhere.)
I don’t know. If I’m paying $150 for electricity (or whatever the exhorbitant fee was), then I’d like to think that a company dedicated to DR/BC would do what they need to do to make sure that electricity stays on while the exhibit hall is open. Or am I being too hard on them?