June 18, 2024 6:04 AM
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MAMA SAID, “THERE’D BE DAYS LIKE THIS”

By Liese Peterson

 

Read the article in our Q3 ISSUU HERE .

If you’re old enough to remember that song (when it was a hit), then you no doubt remember the things that made exhibiting challenging before the Internet, technology, and easier global travel. These factors caused more nightmares than we experience now.

Even if you can’t remember that song (much less who sang it), the acceleration of change has been so great in the last two decades that you might still recall some of the “bad old days.” So, if you’re having one of those days, you might really enjoy taking this quiz. It will certainly help if you know what Woodstock was, and if you had a decent high school history teacher (and if not, a mentor old enough to have caused you to shake your head in astonishment that trade shows did take place before the year 2000!). It will also test your knowledge of international business. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try.

Many of the questions are multiple choice, but back in the day, teachers actually graded their students’ tests by taking the paper home with them and reading through each one, then physically writing their corrections on the test itself. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Test yourself—and if you don’t know the answer, ask anyone who’s showing a little gray around the temples—you’ll be surprised what you learn!

At one point in history, a very famous American said, “TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!” Who was the famous American, and in what year did that person say it?
It was President Ronald Reagan, speaking on June 12, 1987.

Where was Reagan when he gave this famous speech, to whom was it addressed, and what wall was he talking about?
He was in Matamoros, Mexico, addressing then-Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid, and he was talking about a border wall Americans were trying to build on the Mexico-Texas border.
He was in the capital of then West-Germany, addressing then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, and he was talking about the Berlin Wall that separated West Germany from East Germany.
He was addressing the annual EDPA convention at McCormick Place in Chicago, and he was addressing it to the audience of exhibit builders, urging them to break down walls that come between us, especially among different American generations. He was on the Great Wall of China, addressing American reporters following him on a mission to stop outsourcing US manufacturing to Asian competitors.

What happened in 1987 had a profound effect on all aspects of our country’s developments and in trade show exhibiting, especially. Which of the following also came about as a direct result of what happened in 1987?
a) The European Economic Community eventually became today’s European Union.
b) Instead of dealing with specific countries’ currencies, the euro was formed.
c) The way taxes were charged to people exhibiting internationally changed dramatically, making it easier to exhibit in more than one country.
d) Airline competition accelerated after the airlines were deregulated and fares dropped, enabling people to travel the world at a lower cost.
e) American show organizers stopped charging drayage.
f) All of the above
g) Some of the above (If you pick this answer, you must specify your choices)

It’s 2023. When you travel to Europe now, you can change your dollars to euros in order to shop. You can also use your credit cards nearly everywhere, something you couldn’t do until the internet was developed. Suppose for a moment you don’t have a credit card in Europe, just cash. You’ve changed your dollars to euros. In which of the following countries would your money be no good?
A) Switzerland
B) Portugal
C) Turkey
D) Austria
E) Ireland
F) Wales
G) Malta

EXTRA CREDIT: Without using the internet, can you name the currency each of the countries you checked which would not accept euros as payment?
One of the most challenging things that needed to be dealt with at the turn of the century was the reconciliation of something known as VAT. Some exhibit building companies found it so important that VAT was a key part of whether they would or would not establish their own foreign subsidiaries. What does VAT stand for?
Variable Agricultural Tariffs
Video Adjustment Techniques
Value Added Tax
Various Alternative Teaching
None of the above

One of the biggest changes in the style, effectiveness, and nature of design came about because of which of the following key events?
The experience of 9/11 made people realize that trade shows were dependent on people’s ability to travel by plane, and therefore vulnerable to terrorism.
The cost of drayage compelled designers to utilize more lightweight materials, as drayage costs were calculated based on the weight of the exhibit components being transferred from the loading dock to the exhibit space.
The internet introduced audiences worldwide to virtual reality, which had a huge impact on how exhibitors’ individual spaces were divided up and assigned to specific tasks.
The Hanseatic League, after World War I, decided to ask its members to fairly divide up locations for the German Messen (convention centers) so that no one German city would have an unfair competitive advantage when trying to recover from the damage caused by the war.
Apple introduced the Macintosh computer.
All of the above
Which one had the biggest effect on trade show design in the United States?

For each of the following shows, name its American counterpart:
ANUGA (Cologne)
ICS (Amsterdam)
IFA (Berlin)
Frankfurt Book Fair
Bauma (Munich)
Hannover Messe
CEBIT (Hannover)
ISM (Cologne)
MEDICA (Düsseldorf)

Suppose you arrive in Munich on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021, and you’re exhausted from the stress of travel and jet lag. You’ve booked an Airbnb apartment, hop in your rental car. When you arrive, you drop everything and go immediately to bed. You finally wake up about 10:00 am the next day, make yourself a cup of coffee, and decide to check your messages on your phone, but sadly, the battery’s dead. You didn’t plug it in when you went to bed, and the same is true of your laptop. You can’t call the front desk because there’s no front desk, and besides, your host of the Airbnb is en route to another trade show in South America. Why is this a much bigger and longer problem than it might be on another day, in another country?

Without looking at the internet, can you describe in simple words to someone how electricity in Europe differs from electricity in North America?
Is drayage a thing in Europe? How about Mexico? What about China?

Name three things all European exhibitors feel are mandatory to offer visitors to their exhibit, which are not necessarily top-of-mind for Americans exhibiting in the US.
So, are you feeling on top of the world, and could you buy yourself a burger and fries in Malta while talking on your phone to your European exhibit builder to verify that your catering order is in place for your exhibit? Are you feeling older than dirt? (I’m already older than dirt, and I was just 19 a few minutes ago!). Give yourself some credit. Your parents and grandparents didn’t have to deal with so much change all at once (which suggests the movie, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” which we in the trade show world experience daily).

Want to do something nice for a really old colleague? Sit down with him or her with this quiz, and work on it together. Not only will your colleague welcome the chance to learn from you and appreciate how much more you must cope with, but you’ll establish a great relationship with someone whose history and wisdom could take you far. Have fun—and be sure to check the next issue of Exhibit City News for answers, explanations, and surprises!

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