“My Kind of Town”

…would apparently be any place but Chicago.

Chicago used to be King of the Hill when it came to conventions. Not anymore…Another [reason], could be the hundred dollar case of pop.

Eighty-five dollars to be exact. It’s a story making the rounds of convention executives nationwide. A total bill of nearly $350, a full $100 of that in taxes and service fees for four cases of pop.

Bad, huh? Gets worse.

…On Tuesday night, CBS 2 reported on outrage over the hundred dollar case of Pepsi. Exhibitors feeling ripped off. Threatening not to come back.

Well, it’s happened. Tonight its McCormick Place electricians; the straw that broke the camel’s back for one Chicagoan who says he reluctantly said “no” to bringing his convention back home.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems CEO Steve Lieber said it’s all because of the electricians.

…It was a painful decision for the Chicago-based trade association, whose first trip here for its annual convention impressed its members, until they got the electricians’ bills.

“Our costs were about $200,000 more,” said Lieber. “So it went from $40,000 to $240,000 for the electrical work alone.”

…The city got the word Wednesday that the huge medical convention wouldn’t return. They’re also sweating out a decision by an even bigger show.

The International Plastics Showcase has been in Chicago since 1971, but now a spokesman says: “We are looking at other options.”

…”…Because it’s a tremendous impact on us as a city in terms of that lost tax revenue that flows in,” Lieber said.

And the hotel, restaurant and transportation jobs. Think about it; $50 million gone. Another $100 million hanging in the balance.

The Chicago Way.

8 Responses to ““My Kind of Town””

  1. Cullen says:

    Went to a conference in Chicago (well, Schaumburg), in the Spring. Yeah, it was expensive as hell. But these conferences are always poised near Navy installations. Next year will be Norfolk and that will not be any better than Chicago.

  2. ricki says:

    I was going to make some kind of a crack about, “Wow, those sin-taxes sure do add up” but I see it’s just the standard bad old “We’re gonna jack up prices ‘cos we can” greed.

    I remember a conference I went to, years ago: got there a day or two early and ate at one of the hotel dining rooms. During the conference? They had a “special conference menu” – fewer choices than before, but what they offered was $2-$3 MORE than what it cost before. Because they could screw the out-of-towners.

    I hate having to go to conferences.

  3. JeffS says:

    McCormick Place has been a rip off joint for years. It certainly was back when I lived in The Windy City. One buddy of mine had an exhibit there, and got ripped by one of the workers. The guy brazenly walked up, and took some appliance from his display. When my buddy tried to get it back, the guy told him, “Fuck with me, and you’ll find out the hard way why you shouldn’t have.”

    By the way, Chicago is a union town to the bone. Including McCormick Place.

  4. rickinstl says:

    Yeah, I work in the tradeshow business. Chicago, Boston and NY have the worst reputations for “shadow” workers and out of control exhibitor ripoffs. Here in StL, we’ve got the same thing going with the unions. For a town with no ocean and lots of cold weather, these idiots can absolutly kill convention business.

  5. Dave E. says:

    I used to work at a freight forwarder that had as one of its specialties taking care of time-definite deliveries for trade shows. The ops people told me more than one horror story about McCormick Place. Even if everything went perfectly our customers always paid more because it had better be a union agent making the delivery and pickup. Good luck if it wasn’t. And you could never issue a firm quote for that type of job because the people at that site(and others) seemed to enjoy turning a one hour job into three or four for their Teamster buddies.

  6. Rip people off, they go elsewhere.

    Funny that.

  7. Mockingbird says:

    They should a Florida town for less cost and no ripoff:Pensacola is a real nice town, Jacksonville for medical and transportation, and then there’s Key

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