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11/26/2009

When did it become OK to screw the customer?

Would you pay $5.66 for a can of Pepsi? A can. Not a bottle.  Not a liter.  We're talking a mere 24 ounces of the brown gooey goodness.  And $5.66 is what McCormick Place charges its vendors for each can of pop they want delivered to their booth during trade shows.

For all of the talk of labor costs, hotel rates, and cut-rate deals being offered in Las Vegas and Orlando... sometimes it's the simple stuff that has the biggest impact on perception. It did for folks in the plastics industry.  They are the ones who brought the high price of pop to our attention, just before they decided to move their trade show to the Sunshine State after decades in the Windy City. 

Twice in three weeks, we gave those who operate McCormick Place the opportunity to defend the high price of pop.  Finally, CEO Juan Ochoa pulled out the old chestnut: "it's the industry standard." If your kid came home with a tattoo on his neck and a piercing through his nose and offered the "everyone else is doing it" rationale, it would suggest a child in need of discipline and common sense.  Same goes for the fine folks trying to lure conventions to Chicago.   

Perception matters.  While I may not know what it costs to install wide-spectrum reverse lighting on a holiday weekend, I do know what a can of pop should cost. And so do people contemplating holding their next convention in Chicago.

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