The Last Day

 Posted by at 4:00 am  Nick's Blog
Sep 192010
 

Today is the last day of the Hershey RV Show, and it couldn’t end soon enough for us. We are worn out physically and mentally, and just want to go to bed and sleep for about 48 hours straight.

All week long the show promoters and other vendors have been telling us “Just wait until Friday and Saturday. This place will be a madhouse!” Well, Friday came and went, and it was nothing special. A little busier than earlier in the week, but still very slow by RV rally standards.

Yesterday (Saturday) the Giant Center was packed in the outside RV display area, and on the upper indoor vendor area. But for much of the day down on the main vendor floor, it was a still pretty slow. We would have occasional rushes, when the crowds were so heavy that nobody could stop and talk to a vendor even if they had wanted to (and most didn’t want to), but then things would slow back down again.

And just like the rest of the week, by 6 p.m. everybody had pretty much disappeared, and all of us vendors spent the next two hours staring at each other across the aisles. When we got back to our motorhome, parked at the Hershey Thousand Trails campground, Terry added up our sales figures for the day, and we had taken in even less money on Saturday then we had on Friday! So much for the predictions of huge sales Friday and Saturday.

The folks running the show claim that last year they had over 37,000 attendees, and said this year the show was going to be even bigger. Yesterday, they said that from Wednesday to Friday of this week, they had just over 15,000 people coming through the gates. I very much doubt that figure is accurate, based upon what the vendors saw. And even if it is a true figure, there’s no way they will come anywhere near that 37,000 figure by the end of the day today. A lot of vendors and show attendees have told us that the show was much better when it was held in Harrisburg. I think it would have to have been, because it darn sure couldn’t have been any worse!

At least we got to make some new friends while we were here, and we also got to see some folks we have not seen in a while. Yesterday, Paul and Marti Dahl stopped in to say hello, and it was nice to talk to them. Paul is a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, and Marti is a nursing home administrator. They are counting the days until they can retire and travel fulltime in their Class A motorhome. 

Another couple we got to talk to for a while were blog readers Ed and Blondie, whose last name fails me now, I’m afraid. But they were fun people, and they also sat in on my Highway History and Back Road Mystery seminar.

Sean Magee really flattered us when he told us that he drove 90 minutes to come to the show, just to see Terry and me. I really felt a connection with Sean, he’s a very special guy who has a lot of love for his fellow man, and especially children.

There were others who stopped by our vendor booth to say hello, and I’m sorry, both Terry and I are so foggy right now that we just cannot remember everybody’s names. But we really were happy to see all of you, and we really appreciate the time you took to stop and introduce yourselves.

Today is a shorter day, only 8 hours instead of the 11 we’ve been working all week. Of course, then we have to pack everything up and load the van before we’re finally through with this sad excuse for an RV show. Miss Terry and I have an agreement that if I get forgetful someday and say I want to come back here again, she can bash my head in with a frying pan, and then drag my bleeding carcass out to the curb and leave it.

Thought For The Day – Hard work never killed anyone, but why give it a chance?

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “The Last Day”

  1. I’m so very sorry you and Miss Terry have had such a bad experience at that RV show. The good news about all this is that you know now what to expect at THAT particular show and can make different plans in the future. I hope the packing up and getting out of there goes as fast as possible, and that a couple of days of rest will renew you two in record time.

    However, all this bad news about the Hershey, PA RV Show DOES make me wonder:
    How long will it take before you won’t suffer post traumatic stress whenever you run across some form of Hershey chocolate candy?

    And how many mischievous friends do you have who will keep a supply of Hershey candy on hand and offer it to you whenever you visit with them?

    In fact, Nick, with your wide association of mischievous friends all over the country, I wonder whether you will ever have to buy ANY chocolate candy, ever again?

    Hmmmm…..

  2. You are not the only person I have heard complain. I have been underwhelmed both times I went to that show as an attendee.
    I expect the show is failing partly because the promoters are unwilling or unable to innovate. You describe a beauracracy of inflexible adherents to old ways of doing things.
    The fact they don’t see a connection between RVers and computers exemplifies that.
    Fuggitaboutit. Enjoy the things still beautiful in the Northeast.

  3. Hey, Nick.

    I wandered around in the “prvca dot org” web site for this RV show and found an exhibitors’ list of “booth vendors”. You are on it, but your web site is not included in the adjacent space provided for such. It seems like you can’t catch a break with these folks!

  4. So sorry that the show did not do well for you. We attended in 2006 after Life on Wheels and the show was huge. Our next time to attend was in 2008, again after the last LOW. The show was less than half of the previous show. Some of the RV vendors arrived and their companies called and told them to come back immediately, as they were going out of business. There were lots of empty spaces on the outside where some of the dealers were supposed to be sitting, and never showed up. Just another example of how hard the industry has been hit by this crazy ecomomy. When I used to sell at craft shows I discovered that the smaller shows had better sales vs the larger shows where customers became overwhelmed with choices and just did not buy anything. If I were selling something it would have been at the Gypsy Rally, rather than Hershey, just for that reason. This sounds like it was a cold killer of a show! Rest, put your feet up, and eat some chocolate!

  5. The folks running the Hershey show have put out info that the RV dealers are having record sales; however, nothing in their bulletin mentioned anything about vendors.

    As I’ve mentioned previously, the Tampa RV show had far more vendors at their show. We were able to stop and talk with folks and learn about the different products we were interested in. After hearing about Nick’s experience, there will be no push on our part to ever attend a Hershey RV show again.

  6. Only thing selling in this lousy economy is food. You should have had Miss Terry make some of her fabulous cinnamon rolls. Then you would have made a fortune. :o)

  7. Nick,

    Marti and I enjoyed meeting you and Miss Terry again and had a wonderful time in your seminar. Sorry that sales were a bummer, but the book I bought from you, “Meandering Down the Highway” is a great story, I’ve almost finished it. Thanks for a great read!

  8. Sorry the show was not a good one. We did it for 2 years and said “No More!” So, things have not changed. The GOOD news is I handed out the entire stack of your samples at Escapade and most people said “Thank You” and “Are these free??” So hopefully you will get some new subscriptions from them. We are still at the Goshen F.G.’s ,will leave here tomorrow for the IN Samboree. Great folks! We are looking forward to it. Take care and we’ll see you down the road.

  9. Nick,

    Sorry the Hershey RV show was the pits. We went to the Greater Iowa RV & Boat Show over the weekend. Nothing ($) to park and only $5 each to get in, BUT very few RV’s to be seen and exactly ZERO vendors! I’ve never been to an RV show where there were NO vendors! Pitiful excuse for an RV show.

    Joe

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