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Remember the $345 Pepsi? Orlando saves NPE exhibitor grief, not money

By: Mike Verespej

April 9, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 9, 2 p.m. ET) — All in all, Tim Hanrahan, CEO of recycler Erema North America Inc., is pleased with the new Orlando venue for NPE — but not because it reduced his company’s spending.

“I don’t think we saved any money,” Hanrahan said. “But all in all, it has been a more pleasant experience. The people down here are used to tourists and know how to be polite to people.

“I’ve been down here 10 days, and I find that the staff and the security are more friendly and quicker to say good morning, and to point people in the direction and even walk them there,” he said.

But to set the record straight, Hanrahan said he never suggested the show move to Orlando, or anywhere else, and that he didn’t even know a move of the show was being considered when he wrote a letter that Plastics News published Sept. 11, 2009, pointing out the high cost of having four cases of Pepsi products delivered to his booth at McCormick Place in Chicago at NPE2009.

The four cases and delivery cost his company $345.39 — $254 for the Pepsi, a 21 percent service charge, a 10.25 percent Illinois sales tax, a 3 percent Chicago soft drink tax, a tax on the service charge, and a food and beverage tax.

“Now a nice man in a tuxedo delivered the Pepsi, along with a couple of buckets of ice and a few cups,” said Hanrahan’s letter. “Good service. Sure, but not worth $345.39.”

He also pointed out in the letter that the cost for a TV stand rental was $640. “Paying a premium for convenience is one thing,” he wrote. “But the McCormick prices are ridiculous, and the cumulative effect can add up to enough aggravation to be the tipping point when it comes time to decide on whether to exhibit at the next NPE, or not.”

All in all, Hanrahan said the shift of the show has worked out well.

“The setup was easier because the labor rules were looser and it allowed us to do more work ourselves, and a number of experienced riggers came down from Chicago,” he said. “We even worked with one who worked with us in Chicago three years ago.”

But Hanrahan also pointed out that when it was his company’s turn to choose an exhibit space, no smaller spots were left, and Erema had to take a larger, more expensive spot. And he said the price of the hotel where he stayed was similar to the price of Chicago hotels.

“When all is said and done, I don’t think there will be any cost saving for us,” Hanrahan said.