On Showbags

So my partner went to the Royal Easter Show last Saturday, and returned after dark, totally exhausted, and with a sore back and sore feet from hauling lots of heavy showbags over a kilometer from the showbag hall to the carpark. On Sunday she proceeded to lay the contents of each bag out in the middle of the living-room floor, in what can only be described as “an orgy of consumer crap”. See photo (this by the way is not everything) :

Of particular amusement to me was the 1 kilo of flour buried at the bottom of one of the bags. I have to salute the sheer evil genius of whoever came up with that idea.

To explain, I view showbags as kind of like carry-on lugguage for a flight, except it’s packed by someone else, and you only get to properly unpack it at its destination. You also have to buy this luggage, and your destination is home.

So, the ideal showbag is inexpensive, and contains a variety of interesting things that you will use, that you would not normally buy, and is light because of the distance you will have to carry it.

Examples of good things to get in a showbag: Sachets of sauces, samplers for new varieties of tea and coffee, small packets of unusual sweets, light magazines, useful vouchers. Examples of bad things to get in a showbag: Heavy bottles of liquid, heavy useless glossy magazines.

Flour, of course is diabolically brilliantly bad, because it’s readily available at any supermarket or corner store, it’s a commodity (so it can never be unusual or interesting), it’s heavy, it’s bulky, and it’s dirt cheap (e.g. around 85 cents per kilo for no-frills brands). It is however arguably useful.

It made me wonder: What’s the worst thing you could put in a showbag, and still get away with? I’m thinking maybe a gardening showbag, that contains a 1.5 kilo bag of sand at the bottom of the bag. Sand is very heavy, it’s readily available, it’s bulky, it’s even cheaper than flour, and it’s even less useful. However sand does have plausible deniability for gardening, which I think is important. (This for example is why putting a large rock in the bottom of a showbag would probably never work).

Has anyone got any ideas for something worse to get in a showbag than flour or sand?

Oh and my favourite product sample was this:


That’s right: underarm sweat liners. And if you’re wondering: yes, they do make a male version. I had assumed at first that you stuck these into your armpits, and had to rip them off like a bandaid (together with any hairs) at the end of the day. Disappointingly, you stick them to your clothes – but I think the manufacturers aren’t thinking outside-the-box enough with this. Having sat in small rooms that reeked of body odour with other sweating geeks at previous LCAs, I personally think that a version that you stuck to your underarm would be a socially useful addition to the swag bag, if only we could get everyone to wear them :-)