What I Learned on the Way to the Catholic MarketingTrade Show

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  1. Just because your plane leaves four hours earlier for Birmingham than your co-worker doesn’t mean you will actually get there before him.
  2. The Charlotte, NC airport has rocking chairs all over to give it that homey Southern ambiance. Unfortunately, fresh squeezed lemonade isn’t included.
  3. If you want to know what food prices would be like if liberals were able to pass all the regulations they want to to keep you “safe”, try buying food at an airport. $7 for a sub sandwich? $2.80 for a bottle of water? I don’t think so.
  4. When the captain says that the flight normally takes one hour and nine minutes but that there is a 120 mph headwind so it might be longer, don’t think “Isn’t that hurricane speed?” Just sit back and relax. This is normal.
  5. Airline Security is like the X-Files – what may work one week inexplicably doesn’t work the next. For example:
    1. For a while it was possible to create an explosive device out of any size container of gel, aerosol or liquid. Now, it is impossible to create an explosive with one quart or less worth of liquids, gels or aerosols.
    2. Explosives can’t be created with things that look like baby food, medications or breast milk.
    3. The metal detector says that my belt no longer is a security threat even though there is more metal in it than in some knives.
    4. My laptop no longer needs to be turned on for security to assess if it is a threat or not.
    5. At some airports, showing a boarding pass and id at the gate is optional.
  6. Buying a ticket doesn’t mean you get a seat, it means that you get to sit by the gate and hope for a seat. Fortunately, I hoped more than some other people.
  7. USA Today puts pharmacists who refuse to to distribute abortifacient contraceptives on the same moral level as Muslim cab drivers who refuse to carry passengers with alcohol. I guess in a society where kids are a commodity instead of a gift they can be on the same value level with a good bottle of single malt scotch.
  8. La Quinta: Spanish for “bad coffee”.

What I Learned on the Way to the Catholic Marketing Convention

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  1. When they say get there 90 minutes before your flight, they mean it. I was 50 minutes early and with all the security stuff made it on to the plane five minutes before takeoff.
  2. The security agent who is incomprehensible 30 feet away doesn’t get any more coherent when you get closer. I think she said something about putting all your guns in separate bins on the conveyor belt but I can’t be sure.
  3. “At least its a DRY heat” really takes on new meaning going from 90 degrees and 10% humidity in Colorado to 100 degrees and 80% humidity in Phildelphia.
  4. Those “fragile” notes you put on boxes? Sometimes they work! When I got to the bagage claim, a baggage handler rode up the ramp and onto the conveyor belt with my “fragile” computer monitor box to make sure it didn’t tip over or get squashed by other bags. A big round of applause for Delta Airlines!
  5. When you step onto a plane that could fit in your garage and think “I don’t think I’ve ever been on a plane this small”, God will display his sense of humor by making your connecting flight about half the size.
  6. Always go for the exit row. The seat space from Cincinnati to Philadelphia in the exit row was almost claustraphobic. I can’t imagine what the regular seats were like.
  7. “Departing on time” means that you leave the gate on time, not that you take off on time.
  8. Colorado Springs is one of the few airports with free wireless internet access.
  9. I recommend reading both 1776 and Good to Great for in -flight relaxation. The first is a very engaging history of George Washington and the first year of the American Revolution. The second is a study of how companies can go from being typical to outstanding.

If you have a store, you really should consider attending this show. It is the ONLY exclusively Catholic venue to meet vendors. Don’t even think about going to Christian retailing shows if you are a Catholic store. I went to the Christian Retail Convention in Denver and amidst the hundreds of booths, there were only five Catholic ones.

These May Be Customers But They Sure Aren’t Our Customers

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While working the front counter of a Catholic bookstore you get some pretty strange requests from people that make you wonder if they have any idea where they are. For example:

“Do you carry scorecards for bridge?”

“Ummm…”

“Do you have postcards of Colorado?”

“Ummmm…”

“Do you carry books by (insert your favorite heretic / dissident here)?” This one is at least understandable given the state of catechesis in the Church and the rather broad interpretation of “Catholic” by other bookstores. We have tried to cut down on this by posting a “Good Faith Guarantee” on our front door.

We have also had a customer plunk down a sewing machine case on our counter (chipping the counter) and say he needed to have the machine serviced. Before I could reply he looked around and asked “This isn’t a sewing shop, is it?” Our next door neighbor is a Bernina sewing shop and we have frequently had people come in and ask if the sewing shop has moved.

“Do you carry greeting cards?”

“Yes, we carry cards for baptisms, First Communion, ordinations and a bunch of others.”

“Do you have any that aren’t religious?”

The winner, however, was a phone call we received when we sent out flyers announcing the grand opening of our expanded store.

“Do you sell furniture?”

“Yes, we carry all kinds of furnishings for churches.”

“No, I’m looking for a new coffee table.”

“Did you mean to call a Catholic bookstore?”

“Yes, I saw your flyer and  just thought I would check.”

People like this make me wonder if:

Walking into a bank they ask if someone there will dry-clean a suit. Or, when going to Taco Bell if they try to order a porterhouse steak.