John's Jottings

122. The Welcome Pack - Aug 2016

Posted on August 1, 2016 at 4:55 AM

Part way through the set-up at Catfield’s new venue, their Show Manager wandered over and presented us with a bulging elephant-sized envelope: our Welcome Pack. We put it to one side as getting the layout up and running was a far more pressing matter.

Once everything was tested and we were ready for the public, members of the team started asking important questions like: Where’s the toilet? Are bacon butties available? How much? Where’s the brew room? Where’s lunch served? Do we need tickets? A chap wandered by with a bib proclaiming him to be a Steward. We asked him. He hadn’t a clue, and couldn’t understand why we would bother asking him.

“Where’s your RCD?” an officious person demanded as he strode up to our pitch. “There’s got to be an RCD in your power feed.”

“Our RCD is in the cables storage box,” we replied.

“What good is it there?” We got it out and went down the daisy-chain to fit it. “Should have done that earlier,” we were informed in no uncertain manner. “It’s all in The Instructions.”

Then the official started moving our carefully stowed kit to follow the paths of our electrical cables. Empty wooden boxes and plastic crates, rucksacks and bags, jackets and coats were now strewn higgledy-piggledy across our entire operating space. Even the protective covers were pulled from off the cables and flung aside.

“I’ve got to examine your cabling,” he proclaimed. “You shouldn’t have set the layout up until it had been inspected and approved.” We told him we were unaware of these requirements.

“It’s all in the Welcome Pack,” he replied disdainfully. “You have got a copy, haven’t you? And you can read?” he sneered. We agreed we had, and we were literate.

“What’s the point of giving you a Welcome Pack if you don’t read it?” he asked scornfully.

“We haven’t had time. We’ve been too busy setting up,” we replied.

“When I didn’t receive an Exhibitors’ Briefing by last week, I sent Jonathan an urgent e-mail asking if there was anything we needed to bring, or know about the show,” our team leader explained. “As insurance, I sent another via the club website. I received nothing from either. Not even an acknowledgement of my enquiry.

“If you expect us to know about your procedures, regulations and requirements, then you should let us know in good time. Enough time to read, study and digest it, time disseminate the information to the team, and time to implement the requirements.” The official didn’t think this was a reasonable request, not reasonable at all, especially as Jonathan, the only chap dealing with visiting layouts, had only just returned from two weeks holiday.

We reported all this back at out next club night.

“It raises two points,” out chairman said. “The first is that Welcome Packs should not be how exhibitors get their basic instructions about an event. In my opinion, the bulk of the information should have been sent at least a month beforehand, along with confirmation that the show is actually taking place, its venue and times.

“The second point is that key members of an exhibition team should always be available to deal with enquiries from exhibitors, traders, the press and the public, especially in the weeks just before a show. If any chap has to be away, or otherwise be out of contact, then a procedure should be in place to divert e-mail, phone and postal enquiries so that they can be dealt with in a timely manner by another member of the club.”

We agreed wholeheartedly with our chairman. The committee are now reviewing our own procedures and how they can all be brought into line with our aspirations.


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