How to Exploit the Vendors

the Vendors
The largest part of the MTT Symposium is the trade show. Three quarters of the attendees come only for the trade show, and have nothing to do with the technical sessions. This means that the trade-show portion of the MTT is crawling with money-hungry plutocrats who have paid a bundle to be at the show and are dying to sell you their junk.

If this sounds like an opportunity for exploitation, you're right. They're hungry for what you've got (a siphon tube in the corporate money tank), and you should be hungry for what they've got (see below). This is called capitalism.  

So, how do you exploit these guys?


Trade-show trinkets
    The vendors seem to have taken a lesson from the Dutch explorers who bought Manhattan for $10 worth of beads. (OK, I know the story's nonsense, but why shouldn't I exploit conventional ignorance? The salesmen all do it.) These guys are convinced that you're about as easily bought. The salesmen in the booths hand out all kinds of junk, but it must be worth something, judging by the way people grab for it. 

    Anyway, this opens up some possibilities for fun: 

    1. Have a contest to see who can collect the most keychains and pocket protectors.
    2. See who can eat the most give-away candy. Even if you lose, you won't need dinner, and you can save your travel money for beer. (For even more clever food ideas, click here.) 
    3. Try to find compatibilities between trinkets, and make the most of them. Company "A" gives out baseballs, for example. Can you find a company that gives out bats? 
    4. Or, even better, try to find a three-way compatibility. For example, company "A" gives out .357 magnums, company "B" give away ammunition, and company "C" sells telephone lists to recruiters.
T & A
    There isn't much "jiggle" at the MTT trade show. Most salesmen think that this kind of software just distracts the younger guys from the hardware (the really sexy stuff) they're selling, and frustrates the older ones. Many salesmen recruit their wives for help at the show. This should tell you something. 

Hospitality suites
    Many companies have hospitality suites in the headquarters hotel where you can get a free beer, some hors d'oeuvres, and information on their products. If you drink enough beer, you can sit through the whole advertising spiel and can even act like you're interested. Be sure to throw up on the carpet as you leave. 

Customer parties
    Many vendors host parties every year for their customers. If you're a good customer, or at least are really good at sucking up, you might actually get an invitation. (To suck up really well, imagine that the salesman's your father-in-law, and you need a loan.) 

Free samples
    Salesmen often give out free samples, but rarely of anything useful. Still, if you get enough of them, they might be good for something. For example, they might be poisonous and taste good to lawyers.