As we prepare this issue and I prepare to attend the Shooting, Hunting & Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas (for my 17th year in a row), it occurred to me that there are a few lessons learned from SHOT Show that are applicable to surviving the street. I thought it might be a good idea to review them.
Food & Water
Years ago, a famous LE writer named John Morrison wrote an article called “Lizard on a Stick.” It was about conference/convention center food and he couldn’t have been more accurate in his article. You just never know what’s really in what you eat if you’re buying the very overpriced food in convention centers. There might be a good reason why that “friend chicken tender” is shaped like a mouse. (Insert vomiting emoji here.) Instead of counting on the convention center food court, and to save yourself significant money (seriously, $14 for a cheeseburger?), pack your own healthier food. Protein bars, nuts, the sandwich you made, these are all healthier than anything you’ll find in the food court and cost you a lot less. Plus, since you have it with you, you can eat whenever/wherever you want. With a bottle of water costing $4+ at the convention center, go to the local drug store and buy a case for $3.50. Share them with your workmates and carry three or four with you for your day. If you don’t like plain water, get a $2 box of flavor packets that will last you several days. (Note how all of that applies to working the street too.)
Protect Your Feet
Last year at SHOT Show, we had a new Executive Vice President joining our group. She showed up the first day in heels. After we finished laughing at her (good naturedly), we counseled her to go put on more comfortable shoes. The caveat here is that the shoes also have to protect your feet from all of the hard plastic cases on wheels that people drag around behind them on the show floor. This is a big pet peeve of mine and I get that it’s my problem—not anyone else’s. If you’re pulling around one of those wheeled crates, pay attention to those behind you. Show some courtesy. Think about it: Most of us take up about four square feet (2’x 2’) as we walk. If you’re dragging one of those things you take up about 12 square feet (2’x 6’). That might be a bit of an exaggeration but the point is valid: you take up space behind you. Keep that in mind (about others) as you plan your footwear. Comfort is vital but protection matters too. (Note how that applies to working the street too.)
Get Enough Sleep
I get it. It’s Las Vegas. Even if you’re not taking advantage of the party environment, casinos, bars, etc., having a dinner meeting means not eating until about 9 pm and not getting to bed until midnight. Add in time differences from wherever you live and you can find yourself seriously fatigued as you drag yourself to the show floor. Plan for this and schedule your sleep as best you can. Defend that schedule and don’t worry about whose feelings you hurt if you turn down a dinner or breakfast invitation. Further, don’t let the show interrupt your fitness routine. Protect your fitness time as carefully as you do your sleep time. (Note how this applies equally to working the street.)
Wear Your Gear Properly
If you carry everything instead of dragging around one of those plastic crates (THANK YOU!), be mindful of how it hangs on your body. Carrying a backpack means putting the weight on both shoulders equally. Distribute your business cards, camera, phone, knife, wallet, etc. in pockets so you aren’t off balance. Trust me, by day three, if you ignore this, your hips, back and shoulders will be reminding you about it. (Note how this applies to wearing your armor and gunbelt on duty.)
See you in Vegas! Stay safe.