At this point, even if we located our missing truck driver, there was no way he could deliver our shipment in time for us to reschedule a labor crew and get the booth set up by the end of the day.
Most people know that a lack of sleep can impact everything from your health to your attitude. But as I recently learned, it can also throw a wrench into your exhibiting plans.
My company, Zig Zibit Inc., an exhibit house in Raleigh, NC, had designed a custom rental booth for a client showing at the Red Hat Summit in New York. The 10-by-20-foot
property comprised a couple of different sections, which happened to be in two locations immediately before the show. So we shipped part of the display from Raleigh and the other half from a show in Las Vegas.
I received a call from our on-site supervisor the night before the show opened informing me the shipment from Las Vegas had not arrived. The driver had checked in at the venue's marshalling yard, but he and the truck had since gone rogue. And the driver hadn't answered the multiple calls to report to the loading dock.
I got on the phone with a rep from our shipping company, who had no idea where the driver had gone. As I glanced at my watch, I realized that time had already slipped away. At this point, even if we located our missing truck driver, there was no way he could deliver our shipment in time for us to reschedule a labor crew and get the booth set up by the end of the day.
Our only hope was to somehow duplicate and ship the missing pieces to the show. So I assembled an in-house team, gave them a list of the missing components, and sent them on a scavenger hunt in our warehouse. Thankfully, they all quickly returned with their assigned parts and pieces. I simply needed to get everything packed up and moved from Raleigh to New York overnight.
After a quick call to our client, I learned that she was planning to fly to the Big Apple at 6 a.m. the next day. That meant I could package the pieces and give them to her before she left. But the packing material had to be large, long, and flexible enough to house all kinds of odd-shaped pieces, yet light enough to be carried by one person and checked as luggage.
Suddenly an idea dawned: My son's hockey-goalie bag was just what I needed. Granted, it stunk to high heaven, but it met all the criteria. So after cramming the bag with the missing exhibit components, I met the client at the airport shortly before 5 a.m. the following morning and handed over the bag – along with an apology about its strong stench.
Luckily, the client was able to lug the bag onto the show floor and find a last-minute labor crew to set up the booth just in time for show opening. As for that wayward trucker, the guy fell asleep in a parking lot in New Jersey as he waited for the call to unload. He must have been pretty tuckered out because he slept not only through the multiple calls from the dock workers and transportation firm but also well into the evening. He did eventually check in with the shipping rep, but by then I'd informed the rep that we'd already devised our own solution – and that the now-refreshed driver should hop in his truck and drive his load back to Raleigh free of charge.
— Jake Merzigian, president and CEO, Zig Zibit Inc., Raleigh, NC