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Petty, Petty

Don - September 11, 2007

My wife and I just returned from the National Bridal Market in Las Vegas. There were booth after booth of Wedding gowns, bridesmaids dresses, prom dresses, veils etc. etc.

At each booth there was a bowl of candy.

Some of the candy was really cheap stuff, some was mini-candy bars, one booth had cracker-jacks. Several booths put out lunch trays with wraps, veggies and fruit.

I have a hard time feeling good about going up to a booth to take their candy, and I’m especially uncomfortable about eating lunch at a booth that I know for sure I won’t order from.

My wife however has no problem with it. In fact she plans on what booth she’ll stop at for lunch…because they have the best food. Also booths that we are ordering at, she’ll take extra candy put it in her purse and take it home to the grandkids.

Am I being anal about this, overly honest, a pharisee, or is my wife stretching a bit?

What do you do at conventions like this?


  1. I follow the advice that Brigham Young is said to have given to the woman who complained that her husband had told her to go to Hell–I don’t go. :-)

    Comment by Mark B. — September 11, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

  2. I’ve worked the company booth at library conventions, and visited dealers’ booths at many history meetings. Dealers put out candy (or wraps, or pens, or keychains, or whatever it is) to draw people to their booths, in hopes that they’ll be able to engage them there long enough to make a sale. Helping yourself to the freebies even when you have no intention of buying the product is expected, and is no more unethical than is watching “The Simpsons” when you have no intention of buying the cars and Happy Meals and beers and adult diapers that are advertised on the intervening commercials.

    Filling your purse with candy for the grandkids is *not* part of the deal (although dealers expect that a certain portion of their visitors will do that) — the food is intended to keep you standing at the booth and looking over the products, which purpose is defeated by the purse-fillers.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — September 11, 2007 @ 3:45 pm

  3. Why would you go to a convention if you didn’t partake of the freebies? Isn’t that the point of conventions? Free food and keychains?

    Comment by veritas — September 11, 2007 @ 5:43 pm

  4. Maybe I wasn’t totally clear in my post. I don’t have a problem eating food / candy from a booth I’m interested in talking to, whether I intend to buy or not. Nor do I have a problem eating at a booth I’ll buy from. My problem is going…eating from a booth I have no intention at all of even talking to.

    But maybe it is more like Halloween, they expect to give out candy so who cares who comes, who eats or what happens.

    Comment by don — September 11, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  5. Nah, the food is there, they don’t expect everyone who eats to buy. I wouldn’t expect it.

    Comment by annegb — September 12, 2007 @ 7:42 am

  6. You may not buy from them, but you might later say to another attendee, “The food at (Booth X) was really good.” Word of mouth advertising on a show floor is another reason companies do such things.

    Comment by Eddie — September 12, 2007 @ 9:02 am

  7. I’m reminded of a Simpsons episode where Homer wore a special overcoat to carry out all the candy.

    Last 2 times I changed my own oil, I took the used oil to an auto parts dealer for proper disposal, and since they took the old oil for free, I felt “obligated” (see next message about “quotes”) to buy oil and a filter from them for next time.

    Comment by Bookslinger — September 12, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  8. I’m like you Don.

    Comment by Jacob J — September 13, 2007 @ 4:49 pm

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