Rumors of exhibitors giving away logo’d face masks at the National Restaurant Association’s upcoming convention are completely unfounded. Ditto for the promise of free Tamiflu inoculations at one vendor’s booth. I say that with complete assurance because I made up both notions. (Important note to vendors who now have a figurative light bulb above their heads: A copyright fee applies.)
But more than a few of the social conventions evident at a trade show may well be reconsidered this time around. For instance, the convention is largely a series of awards ceremonies with several hundred booths, seminars and parties mixed in. A handshake is de rigueur for accepting whatever honor is being bestowed. Might that tradition become a victim of the outbreak?
The same holds true for the obligatory grip-and-grin photo that accompanies each prize presentation. It’ll be a tough adjustment for photographers, so don’t be judgmental if you see a few shutterbugs sulking around the Jim Beam booth.
You also have to wonder about the taxi line at McCormick Place, which can look around 3 o’clock or so like Section J of Wrigley Field. Will people start leaving more space between themselves and the next person in the queue? That could extend the line by two or three more miles.
My prediction: The Ecolab booth will be particularly busy this year as some attendees stop by and beg for a complete spray-down.