Friday, January 02, 2009
"Scamwise Banshee", hee. Apologies to Tolkein but that is striking me as funny right now (perhaps due to an overdose of decongestant medications). It would be defined as: "a person who, having been conned, is very keen to warn others and generally diss the institution that conned them."
This isn't about publishing, it is about my ability after 10 years of university education, thirty-six years of life on this planet and plenty of relevant experience... to still get conned.
The TV advertisement for the "Liquidation Clearance Expo" sounded good. I have been to liquidation sales in the past and done rather well. Companies do sometimes decide to get rid of a big lot of last year's models of whatever and sell them off. I have some very nice jewellery from a liquidation sale.
The Liquidation Clearance Expo is for computers, MP3 players and other electronics. So I popped down to the Renaissance Convention Center to see if I could get a good deal. I could use computer speakers, iPhone accessories, and possibly a new desktop if the deal was good.
Warning sign number 1: People exiting the expo noticeably not laden down with boxes and bags.
Warning sign number 2: The hall being used is one I know to be fairly small in size.
Warning sign number 3: You need to pay for a ticket to get in. The price is not posted.
Idiot number 1, namely me, has come all this way, after work, with a headcold, in the dark and nasty weather, and is not in a hurry to just turn around and go home. So I justify it to myself. They wouldn't need much room to display electronic goods. And it is cold, so those people might all have cheap MP3 players in their overcoat pockets--or the computer people might deliver. And the ticket price might cut down shoplifters. (I mentioned the idiot thing, right?)
So, I pay my $9 to go inside to see a 'sham wow'-type product and liquid detergent selling stall, one with hideous costume bling, one with terrible cat's-pee-smelling perfume, one with appalling men's pimp-style clothing that would have been considered a little garish even in the mid-Eighties, one with [insert another derogatory word because I am running out] knitted and printed clothing no doubt bought for pennies from some third world country, one with a dismal selection of picked over and shop-worn shoes, one with cheap plastic toys and cliched 'waterfall' prints, and three with grubby refurbished computers and some obscure car stereo products.
All of this, mind you, at maximum reasonable retail price given what total irredeemable tat it all was.
What should I have done to avoid being scammed? It's simple. I could have gone around to the exit and asked the people there if the sale was worth the ticket price. Failing that I did go around to the entry and warn a few people going in. As I walked away again I could hear one lady saying: but we've already driven all the way over here..."
p.s. for the purpose of key word density: liquidation clearance expo, renaissance convention center, Schaumburg, scam, not worth it, nine dollar cover charge, don't do it, run, run away, save yourself while you still can, liquidation clearance expo.
Edited to add: the parent company is BlueStar Shows. If you are disatisfied you might try requesting a refund directly and/or via the BBB. You can email Marriott here.
Jan 21, 2009 update: After a second email the Renaissance Convention Center has offered to send me a refund and I have provided them with a mailing address for the check. Persistence pays off.
Feb 10, 2009 update: Although they never at any point contacted me directly, Bluestar shows shows offered a refund to resolve my BBB complaint, which I have accepted. So I will cash that check and return the one from Marriott. I would encourage everyone to pursue a compliant about these shows through the BBB, where Bluestar shows still has an 'A' rating. I would note that although I had retained my ticket/receipt I was not required to produce it.