For the GEEK in you

Saturday, November 18, 2006

GITEX: Aka Purgatory. Day One Of Seven.

Will do my best to keep this current, but you gotta know, running a stall is tricky y'all.

Debated whether to put up pictures from the show, but am erring on the side of caution. People turn up in the shot wherever you look.

10AM: Exhibitors milling about. Most stalls still unfinished. We're finishing up ours up; now it's a process of weeding out all the little things we forgotten. Pens, big shortage. Same goes for pricing sheets. Sent driver back to get these, plus miscellaneous stock.

11AM: Show starts! And...nothing. No noise, nothing at all to signify GITEX is underway. Early crowds are disappointing, to say the least. No sales yet.

11:15AM: Whoops, spoke too soon. GITEX organisers buy a printer off us. But they won't pay for it till evening. Doh!

12PM: Customers still thin on the ground, but getting lots of enquiries now. Funnily enough, locals seem the most knowledgeable about their purchases; it's the expats who bombard you with pointless interrogation and wear you out.

1PM: Three hours on my feet and blisters are starting to make their entrance. But no chance of a reprieve - there's just two stools in our stall. One's used by the accountant and the other must be shared among five people. I let the helper take it, he's running around like a blue arsed fly.

2PM: Shortages! Everyone seems to want the same product at the same time, so now we're out of portable HDDs. Big ticket stuff like LCDs are absolutely stuck, but little crap like speakers and mid range VGA cards are shifting well.
I'm really tired by now. Breakfast was a single Spinneys cookie. We're right next to the sole cafe, but everything is really, really overpriced - 5Dhs for a undersized can of Miranda!
Necessity being the mother of invention and all that, I send the staff out to eat lunch in our van at staggered intervals. It's crappy restaurant fare - rice and God knows what for curry - but it'll have to do. I save myself for last because I have to handle the till while the accountant dude goes for his lunch.

3PM: Accountant still not back from lunch. My ankles are on fire, but I get no respite from the customers. My expensive items are still selling crappily, but overall sales are up. That little nugget keeps me going ever so slightly.
Personal note sidetrack: The stall opposite sells videogames. Without giving too much away - think 'KG' upside down.
Anyway, the demo guy is banging away at Guitar Hero. One wonders how bright an idea this was - put FIFA '07 on display and I guarantee boffo sales from locals, but how many expats do you know here who want to RAAWWWK? Don't really see a lot of locals doing the karaoke shuffle to Nazareth and Black Sabbath. Doesn't stop me instantly wanting a PS2 and Guitar Hero though...
But the chick. Oh lordy lord, the chick. She's selling PSPs on the other side, and she is the spitting fuckin' image of the first girl I ever fell in love with. Now, let's pause for reflection here. Here I am, busting my ass trying to move boxes. And right opposite is the figurative, literal, living breathing girl of my dreams. And she'll be there for one whole week.

Jesus H Christ.

Concentrate, Laddy. And hope she bops over to the other side, out of sight, or I'll be so addled I'll be giving shit away for free.

4PM: WHERE THE FUCK IS MY ACCOUNTANT? I haven't eaten a damn thing, and the feet are jonesying for an impeachment. Haven't even had a chance to walk around, such is the general rush. At least Girl Of Dreams (GOD) isn't on my side anymore, going back to her area on the opposite side. Not that I haven't been making plans.
Man, I'm rusty at this shit. What do I say? Do I pretend to be making inquiries? Or should I be bold and ask her out for a cup of coffee? Crap, getting turned down would be bad because it's only like the first frikking day. And does it in any way constitute sexual harassment?

5PM: Dad turns up with Free Mind in tow. The rush is dying off a bit, but now I'm no longer hungry. Neither is my accountant, the garrulous sod. So I decide to tough it out for a bit longer.
Some general notes: We are one of literally a handful of shops. Virtually all the space is taken up by the giant chains like Plugins or Jumbo. The trouble is, they all seem to be selling the same consumer level pap, so they are cannabalizing each other's sales. So we, who sell only computer stuff - which, you know used to be the point - are carving out a little niche. Only a teeny one mind you, but it's there. It helps that we know our products well enough to be able to explain them, which is more than I can say for the big chains and their hordes of untrained, rushed-in-service sales staff.
Speaking of sales staff, a great deal appear to be college age youngsters. You can easily spot the go getters from the dullards - they're the ones who aren't afraid to run up to people and talk to them. But man, where are these kids coming from? I haven't seen so much youth since, since - well, since I was in college nearly ten years ago.
GOD update: Sent Free Mind on a perilous mission to find out what her name tag says. He returns with cloudy tidings: 'Sales Executive'. Hmm. Unimaginative parents, what.

6-7PM: Another rush. Don't need food, need a fucking foot bath, stat!
I've got ten minutes off. Should I go to GOD and try to strike up a conversation? People, I'm a geek, not a lothario. This shit don't come easy to me. Aw, hell, had to make a go.
Sidle up to the stand. Nearly there. Jesus, she's taller than me. That's fine by me - no short ones please! But no opening. I'm just about to ask her for a PSP price, but am intercepted by her compadre. Godamnit - now I have to make small talk with him instead. Five fruitless minutes later, I return to my stand and my own personal hell.

7-8PM: Steady flow of customers now. At least none of that usual last minute crap, which is really wearing at the end of a long day, lemme tell ya. After the initial uncertainty, my stand is now operating like a well oiled er, um, thingy, I guess. Calling it a machine would still be a sizeable insult to any mechanised device.
GOD, GOD, what to do? Thinking about her has, I admit, alleviated some of the tedium of standing in the same spot for hours on end spitting out the same prices. But I can't do that for seven days! Need to come up with a plan....
Just as one isn't coming together, Free Mind's eagle eyes spot the bad news: she's got The Rock. Ouch, ouchy ouchy. Heart breaks in a million razor edged fragments, etc.
I think I need to sit down.

9:45: For fuck's sake, this was supposed to end at 9! GOD and her crew are covering up but we're still getting a few stragglers. I'm tempted to call it a day anyway.

10:15: Done and done. Day 1 is done, y'all! Next one won't be so long, because frankly, I don't anticipate anything significant. After all, what can top meeting GOD and losing her in the space of a single day?

Well, nothing I hope. Gotta drop Free Mind and the staff, go back to the office and do the accounts, find some darn food - I've still only had a cookie all day - and write this stupid entry.


Blogger Free Mind said...

A cookie all day! Lol - God was not in the fortune cookie though! Lots more cookies out there! have fun hunting mate!

Cheers! 6 days to go and you might just be lucky!

12:21 PM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:12 AM  
Blogger Askinstoo said...

just thought I'd let you know a place where you can make some nice extra cash secret shopping.
I made over $900 last month having fun!

12:18 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home