Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Herding Cats at the Tampa RV Super Show

Disclaimer: This is my opinion and my opinion only. If you feel offended by anything please quit reading and don't complain to me.

I have always been fascinated by what it takes to put on an event like this. I never really gave much thought to it. I would show up and think that it was here all along. Not so.

We pulled into the Tampa State Fair fairgrounds on the 10th of January. Our boss Mike has already made several trips from Texas to Florida to get his trams here so that they where on station when everyone arrived. Everyone got there within a day or two of each other and quickly got set up for the duration.
Full hookups. Not bad for free. I hear some people are paying $450 a month for this.
So we got set up and had a week before the show started. We occupied our time with going to the beach one day.

We went to Cochino Beach on Anna Maria Island. It is a beautiful beach and not very crowded. However there was a school of stingrays swimming in the water. This isn't the first time we have been at the beach with stingrays so you have to be careful walking in the water. You don't want to step on them because that is when they will sting you. If you shuffle your feet along and kick the sting ray, it will just move along. The water was kind of cold so we didn't go very deep anyways. We then had lunch at the Ugly Grouper on Anna Maria Island.
The show quickly got set up and was ready for people. This is the largest RV show in the country. There are literally hundred of RV's of all types and sizes. From nearly every manufacturer there is. It is almost overwhelming if you were in the market to buy one. With our credentials we could go in and out as much as we wanted so we took a drive around to see what was going on inside.

It was very different driving around there without people inside. Now imagine every aisle and road filled shoulder to shoulder with people. We also stopped to look at the high end campers. They are beautiful for sure.

If you happen to have a spare million in your pocket that you don't need, you could go home with one of these.

The day before the show we were getting the trams ready by putting sponsors on them.
This is tram 4. My tram. All ready for the big event. The first day of the show was called Industry Day. It wasn't open to the public. Only to people involved in the RV industry could go in that day. Since there were not large crowds, I did not have to work. Lisa did though.
Thats Lisa on the back of that tram working while I was enjoying a delicious corn dog for once. I got to enjoy the show without the crowds. Usually it is the other way around. I work while Lisa plays. The first day of the show that was open to the public was Wednesday. 
They were lined up at the gates, itching to get in.
The Crew. Darrell, Ronnie, Mike, Harold, Poney, and me.
Mike bought us all matching shirts. At the time the symbolism didn't hit me. That symbolism is this. The shirts are Salmon color. So we were like salmon swimming upstream in a river of people. 
Lisa and Harold trying to get through the crowd.

Wall to wall people.
Here comes the rant.

Where was I? I was working gate 3. I was not actually inside the show fighting those crowds. My job was to take people from gate 3 to the entrance about 200 yards away. Just back and forth all day long. When I would drop off people, they would comment to me "Well I could have walked that far." To which I thought to myself, "Why didn't you?" I heard that all day long. 

This is how my day would go. The early part of the day I would pick them up at the gate. The conversations would go like this.

"Where does this tram go?"
I say, "It goes to the entrance."
"This isn't the entrance?"
"No, it is 200 yards away."
"Okay, we will get on then."
Literally the next person behind them would say, "where does this tram go?"
"It goes to the entrance."
"This isn't the entrance?"
"No, the entrance is 200 yards away."
"We'll ride then."
Next person, "Where are you going?"
"To the entrance."
"Where's that?"
"200 yards away."
So I would announce it on the intercom. "This tram is going to the entrance folks, the entrance only."
"Where is this tram going?" Someone would ask. Inside I am screaming, "What the hell!" 5 days of this and your patience starts to wear thin.

Then on the way out I would pick them up at the entrance of the show and take them back to gate 3. 
"Where does this tram go?"
"It goes back to gate 3."
"Where's that?"
"200 yards away."
"Do you go to H parking lot?"
"No, I just go to gate 3"
"This is gate 3."
"No, this is the entrance from gate 3."
"Where's gate 3 then?"
"200 yards away."
Next person right behind them who heard the entire conversation would then ask me, "Where are you going?'
"I am going to gate 3"
"Do you go to J parking?"
"No, I just go to the gate. All parking lots are outside of the gate." Again, screaming inside.

This is why I started with the disclaimer. Dumb question I would get all day long. There are only 2 gates to get into the show. Gate 1 and gate 3. That is the only way to get in.
"Where did I park?" Really?!? How in the hell do I know. People, you need to pay attention to your surroundings when going to events like this. I would then ask "which road did you come in on?" Then I would get this. "I don't know." 

"Does this tram go to gate 1? We came in through gate 1." In my mind I am thinking that if you came in gate 1 and you know you came in gate 1, why are you going out gate 3? They are on opposite ends of the show. "No, this tram goes to gate 3."
"Where is that?" Then it starts all over again.
"How can I get to gate 1 then?"
"You have two options, go back inside and walk or ride the tram to gate 1 or go out gate 3 and catch a tram in the parking lot to gate 1." Then they would get mad at me for their dumbass mistake.

"I came in gate 2"
"Gate 2 is not open. You can only get in gate 1 or gate 3."
"No, I came in gate 2."
"No you didn't."
"Yes I did."
"Well nobody goes to gate 2. You will have to walk. Goodbye."

There are a million more examples I could give and it has been good therapy for me to just get it off of my chest. So now we have a couple of weeks before the Florida State fair before I start hating people again.


  1. Oh boy. I'll bet that was a long 5 days!

    1. It was interesting to say the least. We must have missed you at the show. Maybe next year.

  2. Priceless, I cannot wait for your posts after the state fair and strawberry festival. As a matter of fact I am going to make sure I get your tram at the fair and heckle you from the back!

    1. I will have Lisa through your ass off. And she could do it.

  3. OH, working with the public is so much fun. Our issue here now is the closest National Park, the Pinnacles, is closed for obvious political reasons I won't rant about. Everyone wants to know if it's open, and if they can go even if it's closed. Sigh.