Sunday, April 10, 2011

NERGC 2011? Is It Soup Yet?

It’s Sunday.  10 April. 7:03 PM.   

Is NERGC over?

For vendors like Jonathan Sheppard Books, the 2011 New England Regional Genealogical Conference (aka “NERGC”) almost came to a close yesterday at 4 PM when the Exhibit Hall closed. 

However, that was just the “close” that the conferees saw. 

For the folks like us in the Exhibit Hall, the work continued. The guys from the decorating company arrived to dismantle and cart away their drapery, drapery pipes, tables and chairs.  Meanwhile, the vendors packed up their boxes and display equipment.  

We worked (two of us) from 4 PM till about 6 PM getting stuff packed up.  Then the fun began.  Moving stuff from the third floor to the first floor loading dock.  While the decorating company was moving their stuff out. While, at the same time, the hotel was moving stuff in for the “dance competition” the next day.

Anyway, here’s what we had to do:

A. Remove books from shelves.  Pack boxes. 

B. Load 4 or 5 boxes of stuff on hand truck.

C. Exit Exhibit Hall with loaded hand truck, turn left, head down service corridor to elevator. Pray that decorating company not using elevator.

D. Ride down three floors and exit near kitchen.

E. Navigate the “backstairs” part of the hotel, past the kitchen, past the employee breakroom, past crates of oranges, and onto loading dock.  Elapsed time: 6 minutes.

F. Lift each of 35 pound boxes and 30 pound bookcases (11 of them) down from the chest-high loading dock and put in van.

G. Repeat steps A through F about 20 times.

Thanks to the folks from our fellow NERGC exhibitors Maia’s Books and Family Chronicle, who willingly gave us a helping hand with the moving, we were able to get our stuff loaded by a little after 7 PM. 

One thing that may not be apparent to the conferees:  the folks in the Exhibit Hall consider each other colleagues, not competitors.  If we’re sold out of a popular in-print title, we refer customers to our colleagues on the floor.   Our colleagues do the same for us. That’s the great thing about this biz – genealogy is a common interest that promotes collegiality. 

None of us will ever get rich doing what we do, but none of us will be without friends, either.

About 2 hours later we were home, the van securely parked.

Today, we started at 9:30 AM with the unloading process.  Every box needed to be removed from the van, and every unsold book needed to be returned to the proper place on the shelves.  We worked until 4:30 PM, and did occasional conference paperwork in between.

There are still boxes in the van that will need to get moved tomorrow, weather permitting.  Then, we’ll do inventory, see what needs to be re-ordered, and start planning for the next event.  There will still be about two full days of accounting, inventory and general record-keeping work that needs to be done before we can declare NERGC 2011 officially “over.”

I’ll be the “all-day” speaker (3 talks) for the Central New York Genealogical Society’s spring event.  Since we’re also exhibiting as “Jonathan Sheppard Books”, we’ll be doing all of the above again, but on a smaller scale.

Yeah, we both have loose screws…otherwise, if we were interested in monetary rewards, we’d wear paper hats, stand behind a counter and ask customers, “Would you like fries with that?”

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