Company Meeting and Product Fair

The company meeting was fun and interesting as it was the previous year. This was my second company meeting, and working in Portland, a remote office, it is nice to be able to connect with the rest of the company, and see the different products.

Mini-Microsoft has an interesting review of the company meeting here.

What I would like to discuss is the product fair afterwards. I went to the product fair last year, and loved it, I learned a lot of great information, and received a couple of neat pieces of SWAG in the process. Here was the proposed schedule

3:00 – Company meeting to finish, product fair to start


3:00 – Product fair starts

4:00 or so – Company meeting ends

4:20 – I get to the product fair

I made my way over to the product fair, and it was a madhouse. Here is a recount of some of the activities:

  • Apparently some team was giving away Windows Vista DVDs, I don’t know what team, because by the time I got there, they were all gone.  I did see the DVDs as some people were carrying 5 or more. I thought SWAG was Stuff We All Get – if you get 5, and I get none, then it isn’t really SWAG, it is more SRGPG – Stuff Rude Grabby People Get. Now I am not saying that everyone had 5 DVDs, but I did see quite a few that did.
  • I guess another team was giving out Frisbees. Again I am not sure which team, but I know they were handed out, because I saw some people with 3 or more.
  • A coworker told me a story of T-shirts being handed out in a booth – apparently a booth worker was getting shirts from under the table, and the crowd apparently went nuts. Grabbing T-shirts, ripping T-shirts.
  • I also noticed a large amount of pushing, shoving, and attempts to get into the middle of a line. Personally I find this behavior appalling. I understand that everyone is excited and wants to see as much as possible, but I don’t think that excuses this horrible behavior.
  • My personal favorite, is when people try to push you out of the way, while not making eye contact – apparently the idea is, if I just put my head down, I can push my way forward. If I don’t acknowledge any rudeness, then no rudeness has occurred. I am by no means a small guy, I am 6’2″ and over 200 lbs. I served in the Marine Corps, and know a thing or two about defending myself. Instead of a swift elbow to the head, when I notice people are trying to bully past me, I look at them, and say ‘Excuse Me’ and hopefully they will snap out of their product fair gift grab trance long enough to acknowledge poor behavior.

This year the atmosphere seemed quite different then the year before. Attendees were more aggressive, rude and grabby.

I like to get goodies for people in my office that were unable to attend the product fair. I don’t take more than one of an item, I take one, and then each team member receives an item. This year I managed some technical content I was interested in, Ward thank you for your time, I got my picture taken with a Vista desktop, and I secured an around the neck holder.

I am not sure if I will go to another product fair, as I found this one to be very disappointing. I thought the the teams did a great job preparing, and had some great information, but I give the audience a sincere ‘You Suck’

I am not sure what the solution to this is – somewhere I read a suggestion of gift bags created, that are given to attendees as they leave – I think this is a great idea. But something definitely needs to be done.


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