Atlantique City – A job well done

Let’s just say that it was a long Monday.

No, I’m not talking about any of the five long, different and fun days that I was with the Atlantique City staff in at the Atlantic City Convention Center over the last week as we put on the autumn edition (Oct. 20-21) of our venerable twice-yearly show.

I’m talking about the 19-hour day that constituted our journey home from the East Coast playground back to our peaceful home here in central Wisconsin.

It started at 6 a.m. on the Oct. 22 with a wakeup call at the Sheraton and ended with my stumbling upstairs and collapsing in bed at 2 a.m. the next day.

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that you don’t need 19 hours to get from Atlantic City to Wisconsin. It was simply a bad day to fly on that Monday, a bad day to fly out of the Philadelphia airport, and an especially bad day to be an Antique Trader or Atlantique City employee trying to get home.

As we all waited at the airport for our 11:30 a.m. flight, we were told that our plane had a mechanical problem and that we were delayed. We were then told that the plane was missing a part and that the airline was checking with another carrier to see if they had a spare. Hmmm, I wondered, where did the part go in the first place?

It was no surprise when the flight was subsequently cancelled and we were all rescheduled on another plane several hours later, and by several, I mean eight. This meant that our staff of 12 – all hard-working individuals who were exhausted from the Herculean effort of putting the show on – had to find some way to kill time that didn’t involve heavy drinking or yelling at airline staff, though nobody would have blamed us for either, especially after having to go through epic security lines twice.

The fact is, we were all dog tired and just wanted to get back to our families. Some of us played cards in the bar, some sat and made phone calls, some wandered the packed corridors of the Philly airport aimlessly. Me? I wrote the show recap article on this week’s front page and indulged in a little of all of the above.

As a reporter and editor for other publications, I have covered hundreds of antique shows across all levels of the business, but I had never really understood what exactly went into the preparing for, running and breaking down of a show of this size. From the smallest detail to the big picture, everything has to be thought of and managed. I can certainly assure you that this crew covered it all.

Sitting in that airport all those hours, wandering, writing and observing the teeming mass of humanity that gathered in the terminal as our interminable day unfolded, you might think that I would have gotten tired of staring at those 11 other faces I had been seeing so much of over the previous five days. I can tell you, though, that it was the exact opposite; I swelled with pride. This was, and is, a great group of people. They work hard, they never complain – in good Midwestern fashion – and their spirits never flagged. Not in the face of 14 hour days on the show floor, not when presented with the myriad problems that come up during a show, and not when told they will have to wait, ostensibly, a whole other day to get back home to those they love.

You can read about the show in my article starting on this week’s front page, and I hope it gives you an overall sense of the good time we had. What it can’t relay, however, is how great a staff we have on this show. Hopefully by reading this, though, you’ve now got some inkling.