Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blood on the show floor: The New York Auto Show

Ah, New York. This big show wraps the season for most of us, although there are a couple of small regional shows in the next month. Some find NY to be the most challenging show (I personally give that crown to Chicago). Some would do anything to avoid working this show (I give that crown to Detroit). Some request this show year after year to revel in the energy of the city and the opportunity to play here with someone else footing the travel bill (that would be me).

I love love love NYC, but this show certainly does have its challenges. New York crowds are tough. They talk back when you're narrating, they get mouthy, and we always have a lot more vandalism here than in any other city (although this year, Chicago was really bad in this area). And sometimes they get violent, because obviously the auto show is the best place to vent your frustrations about your misspent life and the injustices incurred therein.

One luxury manufacturer was particularly affected by this last year. Another booth babe tells me this unfortunate area had not one but two fist fights in their display at the New York Auto Show, both of which happened in full view of the public and involved bodily fluids.

The first is my favorite: an overzealous security guard took a swing at a dealer associate because the guard felt the sales guy was too close to one of the prototype cars. The sales guy hit back. The cops were called. No charges were filed because there was not an independent witness to verify who took the first swing, but the sales guy was far more believable and the security guard (who was apparently being a jerk to others) was fired. The sales guy had a bloody lip and a shiner, but came back to work the show. That's dedication!

Later in the week at the same display, the booth babe tells me there was another fight involving some teenagers. It was close to closing time and a large group of them came in together (which always makes us nervous - there's a reason why teens can't hang out in malls in groups larger than four in many places). All of a sudden two started screaming at each other and blood was everywhere. One had hit the other in the face and his watch ripped off a chunk of the other kid's forehead, which was now lying on the carpet surrounded by blood splatters, right in front of a beautiful $70,000 car. Awesome.

(This is why you need to stay in school, kids - so you don't have to take a job on the cleaning crew and scrub blood and bits of flesh out of a carpet at an auto show at midnight.)

So far, as far as I know, none of this violence has affected the booth babes but that doesn't mean we're not afraid of it. Easter Sunday used to be Gang Day but Javits and the NYPD had put the kibosh on that in recent years. Regardless, working downstairs in the truck area can be spooky. It's never as busy as upstairs and in the evening can be almost deserted. Definitely not the place to be working a display by yourself, and in fact most now have a rule that there must be at least two (preferably more and at least one male) working downstairs at all times.

I am not going out by being shanked at the auto show, yo.


  1. Sheesh. Some peoples' kids... Need some ninja training? ;) I know people who know people. :)

  2. Wow that's crazy. People are so weird. An Autoshow seems like a pretty lax place. I don't see how people can get mad enough to fight.


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