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 :-)

10 thoughts on “On Showbags

  1. So were can you get the male version. I think they would make great little gifts.

  2. The underarm patches are growing in popularity. It’s funny you mention them as something you find interesting in your bag of goodies because my wife and I spent some time researching the underarm patches about a year ago. We saw an ad for them in a magazine. Interesting idea.

    As for what’s worse than flour or sand – how about fruit that bruises for a food bag. It’s like the lousy Halloween handouts of apples and oranges. No kid wanted that. I love fruit, but I don’t want a mashed banana in my bag.

  3. underarms patches? they really have that?! Now, I know how I’d get away with sweaty armpits after a day of Airsoft. Interesting. I doubt it though if I’d ever be comfortable wearing them.

  4. I go to the show with my son (now 7) so we end up coming home with bags that are either full of lollies or crappy little plastic toys that break within a few days.

    I think the adult versions are WAY more value….the flour sure does have me floored though. WTF were they thinking?

  5. I have to get some of these. I have troubles with my sweaty underarms. It just gives me an uncomfortable feeling.

  6. I could definitely use some of those underarm sweat liners as I tend to sweat too much even while not being very active. I can sweat just driving with the AC on.

  7. haha this is the first time i’ve seen a weird product yet interesting though . its like napkin in your underarms?

  8. When you go to shows or guesting you are given show bags for you to take home. While some people will appreciate this, especially the newbies, others might have some other thoughts. You see, mostly from these bags is consumer crap, and what can you do with consumer crap? Absolutely nothing, unless you actually use the products inside of it, then it would be really good on your part.

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