The year was 2001 and it happened to be the last night I was in New Orleans for the SHOT Show. What’s a guy to do? Of course, you go down to Bourbon Street and have a bit of fun before it all ends. After all, there’s no place on earth quite like Bourbon Street, am I right?
Well, little did I realize how the excitement didn’t end when I hopped in a cab to go back to my hotel. Indeed, what I walked into in my room was nothing short of a nightmare. What my disbelieving eyes were seeing is water everywhere. Water was dripping from the ceiling and I stood in a complete and destructive mess. Everything I had collected at SHOT, all my clothes, yes everything I took with me on the trip was now drenched with water. Worse yet, I didn’t even know what kind of water, if you get my drift!!
Imagine the fun of having to pack up all your wet belongings and leave for the airport in just a few short hours. So much for a good night’s rest before heading to the airport.
Yeah, horror stories like this happen in life…and even during SHOT. What saved me during this incident is grabbing my digital camera (didn’t have a cell phone in those days) and snapping multiple photos. You see, the large hotel chain did not want to compensate me for any of the damages nor for any of my frustrations/troubles after the fact. That tune changed completely when images (evidence) was brought to their attention. I went from no compensation to four nights of comped rooms plus replacement of all damaged property.
When you’re traveling, no matter at SHOT or anywhere, there simply is no excuse for not taking multiple images even if they appear mundane and not necessary.
A great example of a nice picture to grab is inside a Las Vegas taxi cab. Back 11 years ago I was in Vegas with my then fiancé (now wife) and we were headed to the courthouse to get a marriage license. It was about 9pm at night and it just seemed like a fun time to do it. We hopped in a taxi, told him where we wanted to go…and the rest is yet the beginning of another nightmare.
The cabbie spoke broken English and did not have a clue. He took us to a building he claimed was the courthouse and dropped us off. It wasn’t. It was 6 Vegas blocks from the courthouse and a high-crime part of town away from the touristy Freemont Street area. We were pissed. Not only did he scam us…he also put our personal safety in jeopardy as we encountered many street people that night hiking back to a safe area.
I got my satisfaction later, however. You see, what the cabbie didn’t realize is that whenever I get into a cab I discreetly snap a picture of the cabbie’s license. Armed with that information, I proceeded to call the Las Vegas Taxi Cab Authority and describe my predicament. The nice guy on the phone informed me how this cabbie will have his license immediately suspended within the hour and that likely it will lead to a termination of his employment. The only reason this could happen was because I was armed with the evidence to identify.
Pictures are important. They help us remember details. They can serve as evidence. They can document the sort of things that might ordinarily get lost or easily forgotten. What if you left a briefcase or a purse inside a taxi cab? How would you describe the driver who took off with it? He was driving a yellow cab?
For instance, I generally snap a photo of all my receipts when traveling. That way in case they get misplaced, I still have a way of tracking expenses. I also snap images of important business cards, hospitality room invitations, just about anything I am likely to forget.
Indeed, fun pictures of the SHOT experience are always the priority. Yet, I still think people need to use the camera on their phone for the handy tool it can become. Images not needed can be easily deleted. Images not taken can hold a lifetime of regrets. Develop the habit of using your phone’s camera often and for everything.
One final thought. Three days ago a friend of mine arrived in Las Vegas for a different trade show happening currently this week. She had a miserable day with plane delays and a taxi ride where her cab driver was pulled over by police and ticketed on the way to her hotel. Just to finally unwind she sat down and ordered room service. Her misery was not about to end…at least not quite yet.
Her shrimp Cobb salad and water delivered to her room ended up costing her $49.78. To make matters even worse, they forgot the bottle of water and the salad came inside a styrofoam container the size you would get a burger in at some fast food joint. Hardly worth that kind of money, would you say? And to top it all off…THE SALAD DID NOT CONTAIN ANY SHRIMP!!!
Would you be taking PICTURES and complaining? I sure bet you would.