Tips for Exhibit Hall Shoppers
The Exhibit Hall can daze even a veteran Convention attendee. So many bright and shiny new items are for sale every year. So it is necessary to enter with a battle plan.
A shopping list is an absolute must. Know in advance what you need to purchase for the upcoming year. Usually the major publishers and sellers return each year. By using last year’s catalogs, you can plan your purchases and their cost (add about 10 percent to last year’s prices).
At the Annual Convention you can check the Used Curriculum Exchange first. CHEA Members get early entrance on the first evening of each Convention with the Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall. If you use major publishers, chances are you will find what you are looking for. Again, make sure you have your shopping list in hand; the bargains may seem so good that you’ll be tempted to buy more than you can use.
Are you new to homeschooling? Get some advice before you go shopping. Read Cathy’s Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum (available from CHEA). Before the Convention, talk to someone who uses the material you have in mind. Ask difficult questions about it. Then ponder before making our decision.
Many exhibitors have workshops to talk about their materials. This is a good way to become acquainted with new materials or something looks interesting. You will have the opportunity to ask questions that pertain to your home school. These workshops are listed in the Convention program.
One method of saving money is to bring only cash into the Exhibit Hall. Because you are making your shopping list at home, you can figure your total and know how much to bring with you. Of course, it’s okay if you can afford it, to plan a little extra for an impulse purchase.
Consider alerting your bank or credit card provider beforehand that you will be attending a Convention and making purchases from vendors which may be from different states. Some banks or credit card companies will flag these purchases as suspicious and block the card.
An alternative, if you don’t like to carry cash, is to bring only the number of checks you’ll need for the purchases you have planned. If you plan to buy from two exhibitors, bring two checks. However, if this is your choice, don’t bring cash to Exhibit Hall with you.
Many exhibitors offer free shipping. If you have selected your purchases ahead of time, this can be a great savings. But, if you are considering an item that is not on your pre-planned list, the cost of later shipping, after some time to think, may be cheaper than a book that will sit on the shelf until next year’s Used Curriculum Exchange.
By using some of the same shopping techniques you use at the grocery store, purchasing materials at the Convention Exhibit Hall can be a real plus.
© 1993. Adapted and republished from CHEA Parent Educator News Magazine, July/August 1993