Tuesday, March 23, 2010

See, I'm not making this up

A comment came in over the weekend that I decided needed its own post. It is from another booth babe going by the name of "Car People" and backs up some of the stories I've written about here. It also  touches upon a subject I haven't yet: theft and vandalism. Don't worry, I'm getting to that soon.

Here's what this booth babe has to say:

"I can relate to 'Do You Come With the Car?' and while some of the views may seem a bit extreme, an auto show is an extreme environment. I'm sure that there are pro football games that are less intense than an auto show!

In my ten years working in auto shows, I saw tens of thousands of dollars of malicious damage done to cars, and theft of anything that was not nailed down, pop-riveted and spot welded to the floor.

Another challenge was the people who wanted to spend an hour telling you about the time they repaired a puncture on their own Model T Ford (very reminiscent of Grandpa Simpson).

When our security guard caught a guy who had stolen several parts off one of our Mercedes-Benz's he said 'I paid 20 bucks to get in here. I'm entitled to a souvenir.' Our security guard diplomatically replied 'And you're entitled to be introduced to the police so you can show them your great souvenirs.' The guy handed back the stolen stuff and left.

In 1995 as I sat in car with one guy who had perhaps showered once in the 1970's, his B.O. made my eyes water so bad I had to go rinse them for ten minutes afterward.

Taking all that into account, it made me more appreciative of the great people I did meet at auto shows - customers, colleagues and regular people who shared a passion - for cars, technology, design, comfort etc. "

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Car People!


  1. I know a guy that had to stop these guys from stealing an umbrella out of the door of a Rolls Royce.

  2. I know that in New York in the 1980s (pre-Guiliani era) some gangs would sneak into the autoshow with screwdrivers and jacks and start dismantling the cars on the showroom floor. Taking away the tires, hubcaps, stereos, trim pieces and selling them at chop shops.

    Just like going to elementary school, my advice is: don't bring anything to an autoshow that you wouldn't mind being stolen/damaged/puked on. Goodluck BB - love your blog.

  3. I remember doing non-auto trade shows at the Javitz Center in NYC. Anything not nailed, screwed or bolted to the floor was fair game for theft, whether or not it had any commercial value. I don't miss those days, especially having to inventory every last item both pre and post show.

  4. At the San Diego show, we caught a 60+ year old stealing items from our full-size sedan. We asked him if he would like to return the items he "misplaced" versus getting security involved. He handed them over immediately.

    Don't always blame the young on thievery.....the older folks have sticky fingers too.

  5. I have to agree with you about the older folks. I've worked at quite a few quilt shows, and the women there either couldn't be sneaky or didn't think they needed to be. It was always astounding.

  6. At one of the media previews, while everybody was busy at the Ford press conference, I saw one guy go over to the empty media information booth and walk away with a case of Shelby concept press kits. At another show, someone got onto the show floor the night before and took home a case of diecast Dodge Challenger models.

    The way I see it, unattended press kits, posters, swag, diecast models, etc. are fair game since they're promotional items intended to be given away. If they don't want me to roll up 20 Nissan GT-R posters, they shouldn't make it self serve.

    Cars and display stuff, though, should be off limits. That's actual theft.

    Still, though it's pretty rare, even some of the folks at the media previews will pilfer car parts. I recall getting behind the wheel of a Focus SVT at the Chicago show and someone had lifted the shifter knob. To have the car looking properly for the charity preview, Ford had someone drive the replacement knob to Chicago overnight from Dearborn.

  7. I used to go to the Chicago show-I'm a couple hours away-and thought the missing shift knobs and the like were removed by the manufacturers to prevent theft. Guess not!


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