How I Survived Sitex 2012

I’m not a techie, and will never become anywhere near one. In fact, if you ask the Man, he might say that I’m in the range of being severely technically challenged and huh-what-is-tech.

But, like a curious onlooker, I actually went to Sitex 2012! Because I wanted to find pretty clothes for my Ipad Mini, and the Man was initially looking for a laptop to replace the aging one at home. In the end, we were but 2 who added to the statistics of the exhibition, but who came home empty-handed, whereas everyone around us left the exhibition with something. For someone who dislikes crowded places, it was quite a harrowing experience for me to be milling around amongst the throngs of people and sales personnel. Here’s how I, with nothing to buy and nothing to want to buy, (barely) survived:

1. Thou shalt not stare

Steal rapid glances at the merchandise on display, rapidly decide whether to stop or move on, and then look everywhere but into the eyes of anybody, especially the sales personnel. In the unfortunate event that eye contact is established, quickly disengage and pretend to be deep in conversation with your companion. After a while, the eyeballs will hurt and feel like they are about to be unhinged, but it beats establishing contact you do not wish for.

2. I like to move it, move it

Stopping anywhere would mean we were interested in something the exhibitors had to offer, and someone would expend energy to talk to us. We weren’t interested, and wouldn’t wish anyone waste their energy on us instead of real interested customers. So we ended up walking non-stop, weaving in and out of the narrow lanes through the 2.5 exhibition halls of the Singapore Expo.

3. Keep hands busy

With hundreds of enthusiastic pamphlet coordinators waiting to unload their goods into my hands, I had to keep my hands busy to avoid holding a huge stack of pamphlets. I ended up holding my arms in front of my body, palms touching to avoid having to take over the pamphlets thrust at my body, to protect my body from being cut by the pamphlets, and to show the coordinators my hands were too busy with each other to pick up anything.

4. Play the guessing game

“Hello sir, do you drive?” “Hello miss, do you have XX card?” were questions we were peppered with as we meandered through the exhibition halls. We started off answering them politely while using our body language to show we were not interested. After a while, we started guessing how to answer the next question to stop the promoters after the first answer. The Man suggested that we say “Whatever you’re not asking for.” Luckily for minimal eye contact and being constantly on the move, we were able to avoid too many questions.

5. Act dumb

I tried to lie through my teeth in order to stop promoters from trying to sell me their products by saying I already own such and such. But I got caught out real bad as I was unprepared for subsequent questions on the type of product owned. So either act dumb and don’t understand simple questions, or tell the truth as I did, that although I do not own such a product, I am not interested to get it. Thank you very much.

6. Talk, and I retreat

Although we did stop a few times to browse through the products available for Ipad Mini, I retreated and walked away the moment anyone tried to engage me, after mumbling a polite response. I have already set my mind on the product I want to own but unfortunately it was not available at the Sitex, as I half hoped it would be. I did not want to waste anybody’s precious time when they could engage real customers willing to part with their money at the Sitex.

All in all, it was an eye-opening experience as usual, with all the latest products available under 1 huge convenient roof. But I probably would give the next tech exhibition a miss, since I can always browse during other times, without having to squeeze with the crowd, and protect my sanity at the same time. Lesson learnt – for a thin-skinned hermit like me, stay at home la!

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