Sunday, January 29, 2006

Pool & Spa Show 2006

The reason for the lack of posts during the week last week was that I was in Atlantic City for the 2006 Pool & Spa Show. Every year, there are shows put on by the Pool industry in several different areas around the US. There's one in Atlantic City every year, as well as Orlando (which I went to once) and Las Vegas, among others. Since it's only a three hour drive and I have a gambling problem to begin with, I'm pretty much a regular at these conventions now. Let me give you a quick recap of the week's activities:

Everyone comes into work and we take care of the week's known jobs so that we only have to worry about emergency call-ins while we're gone. All but one of my technicians is coming to the show this year, so he's just on call for the week while we're in AC. Around 1 PM, we all take off, in three separate cars to accommodate the 8 people going.

Three hours later and we're there. As we walk into the Tropicana, we are confronted by the largest lines I have ever seen in AC. Uhh, it's a January...fucking pool guys. After trudging through the line for more than 1/2 hour, we make it to front desk and try to get our rooms. Here's where it gets a little weird. We reserved five rooms over two months ago, and when I give them my name, she finds me in their system but they don't have any rooms left. What?! It felt like the Seinfeld episode where Jerry can't get a rental car: They have no problem "taking the reservation," the problem seems to be that they don't know how to "hold the reservation," and really that's the most important part. Luckily, the manager comes over and they free us up a couple of suites, but two of the rooms only have one king bed and two guys sharing it, so they offer to bring up a cot. That sucks...for them. I have my own room, so I'm sitting pretty with my nice couch and refridgerator. Problem avoided, on to the gambling. Ended this night up $180.

We have to wake up at the crack of dawn to make it over to the Convention Center for our technical seminar on Electricity. As is always the case, there are plenty of mustaches and apparently unshowered individuals joining us on this excursion, though there was a suprisingly low number of mullets (only 2, though one was a Spanish guy, therefore changing the pronunciation to Mu-yet, given the "ll"). After pissing off a line of 25 people waiting for coffee and danishes by walking right up to the danishes (I ain't waiting in line when I don't want coffee), we headed into the classroom. Not much really to say about this, though now I know the relationship between Volts, Amps, Ohms, and Watts, which should really prove useful even though they're always written on everything you get anyway, but I disgress.

It's lunchtime and nothing says Atlantic City better than Hooters. The waitress is decently hot (has anyone else noticed a dramatic decrease in the quality of women working at Hooters? I guess the alternative of setting up your own internet porn site and working from home is much more attractive, but come on?!) and the wings are bound to give me some impressive diarrhea...though nothing will ever compare to my bout two weeks ago. After our lunch, it's back to the Convention Center for the trade show.

This part is the reason to come to the show. It's a giant arena full of all the pool & spa vendors and the sheer comedy of some of the things you see going on here is amazing. Let me just give you the highlights:

  • Pool star Jeannette "the Black Widow" Lee is there promoting a billiards company (you see swimming pool guys sometimes sell billiards pool stuff to help keep them busy in the Winter) and is allowing over confident rednecks to challenge her in pool, and then bitchslapping them, most of the time not even allowing them to take a shot. Two of my employees got a picture with her, which was nice.
  • The largest crowd was not around any of the vendors, but rather the beer line. Class. A whole lot of class.
  • One pool guy was walking around wearing a tank top, with a completely shaven bald head, and ridiculously jacked muscles. What's the name of his company..."World's Strongest Pool Service." Wow. Not much else I can say there. Wow.
  • At the end of each day of the show, they give away door prizes. This year's prizes included iPods, Laptop Computers, Tivo, and the grand prize...a giant Plasma TV. However, in addition to these prizes, some of the vendors contribute items such as 300 waterbags, 4 cases of a chemical no one uses, and a vinyl liner. Not surprisingly, all of these busch league gifts required several names to be called before some poor schmuck actually went up to claim them. People even started heckling the announcer, yelling, "Nobody wants that crap!" You can really only find this type of quality jeering at the Pool & Spa show

So, we finish up here and head back to the casino for some more Blackjack. Sadly, I sat at the table for 7 hours straight, got comped 2 free meals, and walked away at 3 AM up $700.


I probably shouldn't have even gone to sleep as I roll out of bed at 7 AM to make it to the second day of classes. This technical seminar is on Underground Pressure Testing and thankfully it's only 3 hours long. The Hooters wings are now trying to escape and I oblige them when I get back to the hotel room, then I take a nice nap before heading down for lunch. Sadly, we can not decide on any place in particular and once again end up at Hooters (yeah, we have issues). Today, however, several of my employees are taking advantage of the fact that there will be no classes the next day, so they begin to drink like fish. Three pitchers done, and it's only 1:30 pm...on to the tables.

Today's gambling isn't going as well, as there are two Russian ladies who are absolutely clueless sitting at the table. Everyone of us sitting with them is completely disgusted, but no one will throw out the typical sighs and groans to make them feel uncomfortable. It's probably because they both had really big boobs. I mean, who wants to intentionally drive that away...even though we're losing money. Penis=1 Brain=0

We sit there for a couple hours, before I need to head out, thankfully I've pulled out a winner, leaving AC with a net total of $820. Solid work. Solid show.

Only 361 days til I can do it all over again.

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