“Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts”

Ever wonder where this saying came from?

Troy, about 600 B.C. was supposedly the site of a 10 year siege by the Greeks. The Greeks left a gift of a huge horse as a sign of peace while they quietly moved their ships away from shore to the other side of the island.

As Troy slept, Greeks slipped out of the belly of the horse and opened the previously impenetrable gates allowing the Greek army to slip in quietly and level the city of Troy. Today, this is still a myth as the city of Troy no longer exists. Archaeologists and researchers are hunting for the fabled city and one day its location may be verified and myth can become fact.

Stories have been written about this event as far back as Virgil’s Aeneid and Homer’s Odyssey in 9 B.C. Even Brad Pitt played a starring role in a movie about the Trojan War and the fabled horse.

There is a point to this story. We have been recruited by a particular show in Houston to be a vendor at their annual event. This show is the annual Women’s Expo at Reliant Center. They boast 10’s of thousands of women who attend and are the perfect demographic to buy our products. On the surface, this sounds like a great opportunity to reach out to our customer base and make a great deal of money in a weekend. In return, they are asking for more than $1000 in vendor fees. Electricity, if required, is extra.

Monica and I have always been intrigued by this show but couldn’t quite justify the expense to attend. Quite recently we found ourselves open on a Sunday after we bailed on an absolutely horrendous event (yes, they do happen). This Sunday happened to coincide with the annual Women’s Expo and a friend of our was a vendor there. We decided to attend. We spend the $5 to buy tickets and see what this show was all about.

What a show it was. Yes, it was full of women attendees, our key demographic. However, very few of them were shopping. They were attending to hear the big-name presenters speak and pick up free stuff from all the vendors. There were dozens of cosmetology schools offering free services thus giving their students practice for their training. There were also dozens of competing vendors to us trying to get the attention of the attendees with varying levels of success.

Our friend who was selling there was not having a good show. They didn’t even get close to making their booth fee back. We also learned that very few of the vendors were return vendors. The cosmetology schools loved it because it gives them a lot of people to practice on. However, vendors did not because people were not there to buy. The show organizers have to recruit susceptible vendors because they need to fill that space and have someone pay for the costs of putting on the show.

I’m glad we did our research on this show. It has always been intriguing by what the organizers are promising, but now we can cross it off our list. So even when you are being promised thousands of people who are your key demographic, beware. Do your research before making the commitment – particularly when it involves a big sum of money like this one. Yes, you may miss any money you could make from that show that year because you have to wait until the next year, but you also won’t spend money you regret.

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