The Leech

I love conferences.

If you're a vendor and you have a conference, I'll attend.  It doesn't really matter what the conference is about, as long as The Boss approves my request.

There is one catch:  You'll have to pony up with some freebies.

I'll sit through your presentation, pretend to read your brochures and white papers, and schmooze with your sales team.  In exchange, you'll load me up with free software, pens, shirts, light-up key chains and hopefully a hat.  I'm a sucker for hats.  It's a good system we have.

If all you've got at your stand is brochures and badge clips, we're going to have to cut it short.  But if you have a whole grab bag full of goodies, we can talk all day.  I definitely make time for grab bags.

Don't take this confession of my true motives personally.  I do my best to be polite, and it's not like you're being honest either.  We have conversations like this:

Vendor:  ...and our cutting edge technology will help you leverage your throughput via comparative analysis of the blah-de-blah...

Me:  That's incredible!  We'll definitely keep you in mind for our ongoing project procurement plans.  Would you happen to have a business card?

If we were both being honest, the conversation would go downhill rather quickly:

Vendor:  I'm just gonna let you read the brochure.  I'm tired of repeating the same old spiel over and over.  I know you're not listening to me and you're only interested in the grab bag anyway.

Me:  True.  Mind if I grab two?  I could lie and say it's for my co-worker, but the truth is I use your t-shirts for changing my oil, and I go through 'em pretty fast.

Vendor:  Sure.  The sooner I hand this junk out, the sooner I can go home.

Me:  Wanna do me a favor?  Help me create a diversion for the dude at the booth behind you.  He's got hats.

If you know of any conferences coming to town, please let me know.