Vanishing Point

by Matthew Stollak on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Let me channel my inner Andy Rooney (or Harlan Ellison if you will) for a moment. I will be attending the SHRM Annual Conference for the tenth time in a few days. I always leave with a positive feeling both about the experience and the profession. There is, however, an item that makes vuvuzelas sound like Mozart (or Hall and Oates if that is your musical predilection) - roller bags in the exhibit hall.

Why roller bags? On Sunday afternoon, after seeing if Steve Forbes blinks or not, thousands of HR professionals will descend into the exhibit hall for some food, to speak to a vendor, to try to win a prize, or to pick up some free swag that an exhibitor will giveaway. Presumably given out by vendors to not only promote their product, but to help the attendee carry away the pens, t-shirts, squeezeballs and other geegaws he or she has picked up along the way, the roller bag seems like a great prize. So, where is the fail?

  • The roller bag is always underfoot - I can't tell you how many times I have, or have seen others, nearly tripped over these menaces while navigating the conference.
  • People are oblivious to their own space - Many cities and states are passing laws banning texting and driving. At the SHRM conference, they should ban texting while pulling a roller bag. Don't be surprised to see a person trying to talk or text, while carrying a cup of coffee, and trying to pull a roller bag. Its a bad combo.
  • Space is limited - Filling a conference with thousands of people leads to congestion. This congestion is only exacerbated with a roller bag. As people walk through the passages of the convention center and exhibit hall with a roller bag, they operate as if the bag was not there. They don't realize that the bag acts as a 2nd person behind them, taking up valuable space.
So, if you are an exhibitor at SHRM this year, I implore you to not give a roller bag away as a prize. Similarly, if you are attending the SHRM Annual Conference, have a great time. But, don't be that person with the roller bag.


Consider this... As an attendee you will be receiving a perfectly good bag that is made of 100% recycled glass.. Also if you do not want to lug your stuff around, they will have a rent-a-box option for $20 (for the duration of the conference) and you can pretty much utilize it like a locker.

by Maria on June 23, 2010 at 12:36 PM. #

To think that I'm sitting here staring at a roller bag...

by Anonymous on June 23, 2010 at 7:11 PM. #

I wonder if they'll let me come back next year if I set fire to someone's roller bag in the middle of the expo floor. It might be worth it just for the applause...

by Ben Eubanks on June 26, 2010 at 8:41 PM. #

How did I miss this? Hilarious and so true.

by Unknown on June 27, 2010 at 11:52 AM. #

Leave your comment