Open Letter to Natural Products Expo West Attendees

Once again we reprint an NBN classic. ‘Confessions of a Booth Babe’ first appeared in March, 2006.

Submitted by An Anonymous Body Care Booth Babe:

Dear Retailers and Expo West Attendees,

I had the dubious pleasure of working in a booth in the Personal Care Pavilion at Expo West earlier this year. Initially I was excited to be there. Yet after a 3-year absence, I’ve decided I don’t want to be in this business. Why?

Because I am so disappointed at the lack of respect and appreciation I witnessed. Attendees were in a sampling frenzy. Here are some tales from the crypt, AKA, the trade show floor:

~ A woman telling 2 young girls (about 12 yrs old) to hurry and get their bags emptied into her big bag, and “get out and get more.”

~ After a vendor closed a box and put it away someone with a retailer badge went over, opened the box, went rooting around in it like a pig after truffles. Nothing on the box said FREE, OPEN ME FIRST, or anything of the sort.

~ Folks grabbing handfuls of samples, even when asked, “please just take one.”

~ Displayed products were taken away without permission.

Even I stooped to a new low. Someone, taking a handful of soap samples, asked, “do these taste good”?

Realizing they did not even know what they were taking, I answered, “Yes, Oatmeal is my favorite.” If the person that bit into a bar of soap is reading this, I apologize for my meanness.

Why is this show becoming more and more like sugar frenzied 6 yr. olds at a birthday party? What has happened? It isn’t like the vendors aren’t happy to let you try their products. They will even try to give you a discount on them.

Exhausting the vendors’ resources for sampling may cause them to stop such programs. Please think this over, and resolve to do your best to make kindness and appreciation a sustainable commodity in the natural products industry.

Shocked and amazed,

Anonymous, former sales-rep, former retailer, expo booth babe.

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