Some additional thoughts from the NRA convention today as I think about my experience over in St Louis.

In was painfully obvious that some companies/brands/booths were very busy and some were not.  Granted I didn’t hit every booth but I did walk the entire exhibit hall once because I knew I wasn’t coming back for a second day but still in my hurried canvas of the expo hall some were covered up and some were not.

Those companies that were covered up seemed to have two or three things going on.  First was color.  In a world of black rifles, cammo and “tactical” colors, the booths and companies who were bright with color were busy.  Blue, white, red and yellow seemed to attract the most attention.  For what ever reason color seemed to be a magnet.

Second was the representatives on the floor.  Those busy folks were busy because they knew their stuff and wanted to talk about their stuff.  I found that a lot of the folks working some of the booths were not sales people but were from manufacturing, assembly and also development.  I liked that.  I liked talking guns with the guy or gal who either built it or developed it and also uses it.  The not so busy booths were staffed by mostly sales people it seemed.

Last those working the floor worked the floor.  When I walked up to a booth I was greeted and asked what I was looking for, interested in or wanted/needed info on.  They were seeking out the public.  The other less busy booths seemed to be talking to their friends and not really interested in engaging the public.

ATTENTION LOUISVILLE FARM SHOW EXHIBITORS:  Take note above……the last few times I have been at Louisville you have acted like its a chore for me to ask a question or inquire about a product.  Plus your all sales people, get the real people out on the floor would you.  Those that know the product, built it, developed it and use it.

If there was a disappointment in anything it was in one booth I visited.  A company, whom will not be named, of whom I have and use a lot of their products, seemed to be staffed almost by kids, (granted I am now mid 40′s so I find myself saying kids to anyone who looks younger than me, a sign that I am getting old) of whom were more interested in talking to each other and handing out an occasional “sticker” than in talking about their products.  I was almost shocked.  I stopped by there to see what was new, what was up and coming and what might be new to add to my collection but not only did they not have much to see they had even less to talk or hear about.  Epic fail…………..

ATTENTION LOUISVILLE FARM SHOW EXHIBITORS:  Take note above……Last year I went to two different manufactures of the same type product to investigate buying their products only to be greeted by KIDS who didn’t know squat about what you made……………and I didn’t even get a “sticker”.    Pull your heads out of you rear ends and get with the program.

I found all the NRA staff that I recognized to be extremely friendly and kind.  I also found all the big “stars” of shooting TV who were there to be very friendly in the booths.  I noticed that when they left the booths they made a b line for the door and while still nice they were pretty short on fanfare.  This I think was to be expected.  I assume that they were under contract do just what they did in the booths or companies for which they were being paid and couldn’t do any extra for “free” for those that stopped them in the hallway.

Another thing I noticed was that the booths with the scantly clad ladies signing pictures and letting those who wanted to take pictures with them do so were busy but there was little interest in the actual products that said ladies were standing besides.  Just proves that you can draw a crowd but without something substantial you cant hold them.

Last but not least……..

Being a farmer, and a joke that all farmers and ag businesses understand, I have never paid for a ball cap.  We farmers always get a “give me” cap.  For the record I have purchased ball caps, I purchased my Glock hat several years ago, my Rock River Arms hat and also my Knob Creek hat.  But the other 100 or so hats on the hat rack are give me caps from various ag companies.  Those caps I have purchased are of good quality.  Again the joke is that you cant give a farmer a “cheap” hat and expect them to wear it.

Matter of fact there are only certain brands that we will wear because they will hold up to the abuse we give them.

Smith and Wesson was giving away hats when I was there.  Nice hats. Very nice hats.  Good quality hats.  I would have to guess that those hats cost them about $5-$8 wholesale at the volume they were giving them out.  Having bought give me hats to pass out for the soil testing company I know what a good hat will cost.  Smith and Wesson were giving away a quality hat worth the money.

Kudos to them for doing so.

Now that being said a lot of the other companies were selling hats so that you could get the “star” or “expert” they had speaking in their booths to sign them.  Some of these hats they were asking $15 for or more.  And they were CHEAP hats.  Cheap hats that a farmer wouldn’t be caught dead wearing.

Pitiful!

Besides what good is a hat that is signed by someone?  You would never wear it would you?  Hats are meant to be worn and worn out then thrown away.  You wear a hat until it isn’t recognizable and then you go to the closet or hat rack and get another give me hat and go on.

I will wear my Smith and Wesson hat with pride until it wears out.  Thank you S & W!

No, I didn’t buy a $15 cheap hat either.

And no one signed my hat.

Hats are made for wearing.

Leave it to a farmer to go to the NRA Convention and talk about give me hats.

One Response to More thoughts on the NRA Convention and the Nat Farm Mach Show.

  • Kelly, last time I went to a machinery show at Louisville every time I entered a mfr’s display area some young guy would walk up and introduce himself, ask what I was interested in and then ask “And how many acres do YOU operate?” When I answered “700 acres of corn and soybeans” Invariably, they turned and walked away without so much as a “kiss my a$$’ or even a “Good Bye”. Turned me OFF completely the Louisville Farm Machinery Show for good and I’ve never gone back.

    Turns out others have had the same experience and I guess the magic number for most of those reps was 2,000 acres and up. If not, we’re wasting their time.

    So even though I’m now retired, I quit going to Louisville and I don’t waste their time anymore…

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

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