Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Chicago Way

In a previous life I attended a few National Restaurant Association shows at McCormick Place in Chicago. One story you always heard is how exhibitors got squeezed for money if they wanted to participate – our vendors who were exhibiting there told us horror stories about the number of palms you had to grease to get your booth set up.

So I wasn’t surprised at all to hear that the MSM, which has provided such yeoman assistance to the Obama campaign, is going to have to grease a few palms in order to cover the coronation of The One:

A memo sent to news organizations on Tuesday by the Obama campaign says credentials will cost $715 to $1,815, depending on whether electrical and phone lines are needed and whether an indoor or outdoor seat is requested for the event, which is expected to be held outside the evening of Nov. 4 in Grant Park.

The only free admissions are for a “general media” area. But, the memo says, “Please note that the general media area is outdoors, unassigned and may have obstructed views . . . standing room only.”

The area also does not include access to top Obama campaign officials, whose statements likely are to be in hot demand on Election Night. They apparently will be available only in the “press file” tent, to which an additional admission fee of $935 per person is being imposed.
Change You Can Believe In.


Anonymous said...

You'd better believe in change because soon change is all that you will have left.

Night Writer said...

Heh. I've had to coordinate exhibits in McCormick Place a few times and the non-stop palming is a big part of the headache of doing so. You aptly described it as greasing the palms, but that sounds like a secret, back-alley type of transaction. In my experience, the "grease" is demanded up front in the guise of fees for union contractors for every little thing, including having to pay (at union rates) for an electrician to come over to your booth AND PLUG YOUR ELECTRONICS INTO AN ALREADY FUNCTIONING OUTLET. Woe to you if you tried to set up your booth or plug in your own plugs by yourself. I think there was even a union in charge of dragging you away and throwing you into the Chicago River.

Anytime I've had to do anything with McCormick Place I'm always reminded of the Steve Goodman song about Mayor Daley and the line -

When it came to building big buildings
no job was too tough
Daley built McCormick Place twice
because once was not enough.

- A reference, I believe, to the fact that all the union costs and payoffs in building the place effectively doubled the cost.

Gino said...

my cousin owned a pizza place in chicago.
he went out of business, in no small part because the firefighters and the police departments liked his pizza better than others.
they order 50 pies, and pay for 10 (maybe). you went along, or didnt pass the next code inspection.