- Some people are actually there to buy cars.
Typically, when someone thinks of an auto show, they think of seeing all the new models of from their favorite manufacturers. However, there are actually a lot of cars for sale. They might not be a high-end sport car, but if you’re in the market for a reliable mini-van from four years ago, this might be the place for you! Shopping around the auto show has its perks. At a dealership, potential buyers are often stalked by salesmen (be nice, they need to eat too, you know). But, at the auto show, no one will bother you near the pre-owned section. In fact, most people probably don’t even know it exists. If browsing for used cars is tiring, feel free to enjoy the over-priced concessions as well. Who knew a $4 bottle of water could be so refreshing.
- There are at least 50 shades of gray.
If you thought a car show in downtown Milwaukee would lead to a pretty diverse group of attendees, well, to put it simply, you’re dead wrong. With Milwaukee being a fairly diverse city, you would expect a more diverse turnout. I’m not trying to say that it was an AARP lunch outing, but I felt like a freshman at high school all over again. Young and out of place. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing, either. Men tend to like their cars, and that interest doesn’t fade away with age. Looking at sleek, new, cars can be exciting when other areas of excitement start, um, malfunctioning. Oddly enough, age wasn’t the only pattern I noticed. Camo jackets, and hunting attire was also prevalent; most noticeably around the trucks, which are obviously the most fuel efficient vehicles for city driving. Some guests don’t live in the city, so trucks are more practical for them, but when it comes to trucks, size matters. The bigger the better. But how big is too big?According to auto show guest, Dennis Wankowski, “a 1500 is sufficient,” and anything bigger than that is overkill.
I asked another attendee, Dennis Perry, if he thought the giant trucks were necessary for a car show in downtown Milwaukee, he said, “definitely not, there are a lot easier ways to make stuff more efficient. I don’t see a reason to have too many trucks in the city, but I think its also the culture as well.”
Well, as far as our camo wearing culture goes, I’m not sure what they were all trying to hide from, but it wasn’t working. Or maybe it was and I missed some people.
- It’s not all about the cars.
Auto shows and conventions bring out all sorts of people, and all of these people have at least one thing in common. They are consumers. One of the strangest things I noticed was that there was an entire stretch of the Wisconsin Center that was filled with random stands. I’m not talking food, or merchandise either. No, no, no. I’m talking about knife salesmen, basement repair and even a window replacement service. I’ll never understand the logic behind trying to sell a $1,000 knife kit at a car show; but what do I know. In addition to these random stands, there were some attractions for kids to enjoy. This includes a small zip line, and a stunt jump stage (which was really just a raised platform to jump onto a giant airbag). My favorite part of the ENTIRE event, was the sunglasses stand. For just $50 you could get three (yes, three) pairs of knock off designer shades. Nothing looks cooler than fake sunglasses at a car show.
- Sex tries to sell, even when most people aren’t buying.
I’ll never understand the connection between sexuality and cars. There are people who love cars. I mean really LOVE cars. The association between a woman’s body and a sports car is a confusing one. On one hand there are people who give their car’s female names, and on the other hand, a large percentage of men disregard a woman’s opinion when it comes to what goes on under the hood. Every guy thinks he knows best. Yet at the car show a large amount of the people working the showroom are women. Every booth featured beautiful girls in tight dresses and, for some reason, heels.
Speaking to Trista Tapia, a product specialist from the FIAT booth, I learned that all of the outfits are provided to the employees by whomever employs them. She added that, “Of course the heels hurt a little bit, but I think a lot of us our happy with our wardrobe as in it’s very classy. But a pants suit would be nice sometimes too… because its very cold in the convention centers.” The outfits were classy, but maybe too classy for Milwaukee. (See #3.)
Wankowski, our truck buying friend from earlier, said, “just enjoy it.” Although Wankowski said that a pretty face isn’t going to sell him on anything, he said, “it helps out.”
Perry, who travels the Midwestern states to attend as many car shows as he can, said he “didn’t even notice” the dress donning women. So if it isn’t impacting potential customers, and some people don’t even notice, then why have them so overdressed?
Tapia even said “It doesn’t make it easier; whatever I’m wearing doesn’t really make a difference in how it goes.” Now Tapia was a product specialist, not a saleswoman. There weren’t any sales to gain from her astounding appearance; it would impact how approachable she was to potential consumers.
Personally, I think having them all dressed in NASCAR jumpsuits would have been far more interesting, and way more noticeable. But others would probably disagree with me.