Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shouldn't Toy Fair be fun?

So I am back from a LOOOOOONG week in NYC working the ToyFair booth for the company I work for. Holy Cow 9 hours a day on your feet selling sure was easier in retail when I was 24 then it is now @ 40. Anyway, while it is BIG BUSINESS (so busy-so important dontcha know) it always amazes me how grim, dour, and down right crabby a lot of folks are at the show. It could be buyers or another companies booth crew stopping to talk, but damn they make Eeyore look like Chuckles the Clown.

Look I am no Mary Poppins, but damn if you come to my booth I am going to smile shake your hand and talk with you friendly and casual. I may be a "sales guy" but I am not going to "sell you." To often as I visited booths or had other folks come to ours, I was amazed by how little they knew about their own games and toys, and by how little they cared.

Stopping at one booth I saw a couple of new kids games I thought my nieces might enjoy. So I asked a sales rep in the booth "can you tell me about these games? Are they out yet?" Her reply, "It's a game for little kids, can't you just read the box?" Then she quickly looked away and studied the remainder of what smelled like a tuna fish sandwich. I smiled, set the box down, wished her luck, and left.

Maybe it was the fact my lanyard and name badge identified the company I worked for and she had issues...or maybe she just had a bad meeting or a bad day. Either way-she lost a sale as I would have probably tried to find them online, instead I'll go out of my way to avoid the whole company now.

In fact MANY booths had vaguely interesting things, but the staff in the booth either ignored you, or at times were hostile. In fact the only genuinely friendly booths were the limited "hobby game" booths at the event. By limited I mean less than a dozen. There is a difference between having a passion for what you are doing, instead of having to (to lift a phrase from Nike) "Just do it."

If you can't be happy in the game and toy industry might I suggest a different career path? The absolute best parts of the show (for me, outside of successful business) were when fans or kids came to our booth and overflowed with stories or excitement at seeing some of their favorite stuff RIGHT THERE! No matter how tough the job gets sometimes, seeing how happy the end result makes kids feel makes it worth it.

If you are frowning more than smiling at the end of your work days (especially in a game and toy business) then get out! Life's way to short to be miserable, and at the show I saw a whole lot of misery.
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