How to lose a Pallet

It seems like a ridiculous question now, but the first time it happened to me, I could not believe it.

It seemed outrageous.

Not possible.

Where could it have gone?

Writing this now, I feel embarrassed for ever having that perspective; but being only a few months into the industry, at my first show with shipped items, I realize this is a common occurrence.

I’ll give myself some grace.

I figured as long as I followed the instructions, labeled my items correctly with my company name in bold letters, how could it not be returned to me?      
I couldn’t imagine a big wooden skid being overlooked or misplaced.

It had our name on it!

The reality is the trade show floor is very big. The holding facility is even bigger. The material handlers are tasked with moving a huge number of items in a small window of time.

In hindsight, I can see that losing a pallet is one of the easiest and most likely things to happen.

Now, I understand that following the instructions makes everyone’s job easier, including myself and my team.

Labels printed in 12-point font are difficult to read from the seat of a forklift.      

An empty skid looks the same as everyone else’s.      

Packing materials often look like trash. 

I have learned to see it from another point of view.

The well thought-out, efficient shipping plan that I was so proud of- left me giving the forklift drivers the exact items listed above.

I used every last bit of material that I shipped, which left only empty pallets to be stored.

They went missing almost every time.

I had to adjust.

Let the brainstorm begin…

I started spray painting my pallets and writing our company name in giant letters around the base; an angle that can be seen from a forklift.

I used large boxes to pack items; strapping them on the pallets so they no longer looked empty.

When designing larger booths, we opted for storage rooms and back covers to keep the skids in our booth during the show.

These actions proved profitable in more ways than one.

Having items go missing and things not working out as planned is unavoidable for exhibitors, but     I am     flexible. I can adapt.

Our shows don’t have to be painful.

The excitement of this job empowers me to think outside the box -and the pallet!  The creativity and adventure it requires keeps me coming back for more. Pallets will still go missing, but I know I’ve done everything in my power to avoid this issue.

— Gabrielle: Trade Show Coordinator


A note from The Exhibitor Advocate:
Freight should never go missing at a show. However, we know this is not the reality. Exhibitors have a responsibility to read through the Service Manual and follow the instructions provided. Exhibitors also have a right to expect that when this is done properly, they will receive their materials, on time, and without unexpected fees. Working together, we can support our fellow exhibitors in understanding the importance of the rules and regulations and we can stand with each other and our show organizer to expect quality service from our partners. Thank you to Gabrielle for sharing her story, sharing what she learned, and helping her fellow exhibitors see a different point of view