Your Supplier Might Be Stealing From You

If you have ever seen one of your suppliers crashing or suitcasing at a conference, convention or trade show they're stealing from you. You need to get a new supplier.

At almost any convention you will see vendors not just crashing but also suitcasing. It tends to be the same deadbeats with the same stories and excuses over and over again, but even first-timers are stealing from you and you need to get better suppliers.

You probably understand what is meant by "crashing" a convention or trade show – attending without a paid registration. There are always a couple of vendors prowling around the resort or convention center without a badge, acting surprised to see people.

They usually insist they "just happened" to be there, and that the whole thing is a remarkable coincidence. It's generally laughable, because so many conversations among paid attendees revolve around how hard it was to get to that particular vendor. But the crashers just had the good fortune to accidentally wind up there at the same time. Right.

If you see your supplier walking around a trade show, conference or convention without a badge remember something – they are stealing from you. You paid to be there. It's your money being used to pay for whatever your vendor consumes.

If you see your vendor suitcasing... that is a much, much greater sin.


Suitcasing is a parasitic business practice in which unethical companies will gain access to an event by obtaining some type of event credential (attendee badge, expo-only badge, etc.) and then solicit business in the aisles or other public spaces used for the conference. This practice skirts the support of the organizer and the industry. This does not pertain solely to soliciting the attendees of an event. As we all know, some of your biggest customers/vendors can be other exhibiting companies. So, when a salesperson for "Joe's Manufacturing" (who is not exhibiting) shows up in your booth in an attempt to earn your business ... they are suitcasing.

Definition of Suitcasing From Meetings & Conventions


Just to clarify – a suitcaser may also be a crasher. If someone crashes the event (no registration badge) and is also suitcasing they are being unethical twice. If they do have a paid registration they can still be guilty of the more serious crime of suitcasing if they have not paid for the right to exhibit.

Suppliers that are guilty of crashing and or suitcasing have proven themselves to be unethical, and that is reason enough to stop doing business with them.

But they are also stealing from you. If they aren't paying to attended and/or exhibit you are covering their share of the costs. Why would you buy from someone that was stealing from you?