Before you chime in with the comments, let’s just start off by saying, “We totally understand that our industry depends on events like SEMA to stay alive.” Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on shall we. SEMA is not only the super bowl of the aftermarket car world, it’s also the biggest aftermarket automotive show in the world. It attracts people and builds from all over. With something so large, you have to take the good with all the bad. Lucky for us, the bad wasn’t all that hard to find this year.
1. Firstly, the thing we couldn’t wrap our heads around this year at SEMA was the horrible food and the outrageous price that was attached to it.
Pictured here is the “Gourmet’ bratwurst I got from the “BBQ Pit” outside of the main halls. This is arguably the BEST thing you can possibly order to eat at SEMA 2014 because it actually tasted like something other than frozen. The bratwurst came with mandatory fries with no healthy substitutions and if you thought about adding a drink to wash down all this salt you'd better brace yourself for the $18 price tag!!! I’m not joking. A hot dog with free fries (mandatory) and a drink ended up costing $18!!!! I was shocked at the price but that was the least of my worries so I quickly moved on. At least I didn’t make the mistake of ordering the cardboard crust SBARRO pizza. Seriously, that sh*t was disgusting.
2. Since we are on the topic of food, let’s talk about the food lines. Odds are, if you wanted something that seemed delicious, 100+ other people had that same idea just before you and were already queued up in line.
This was the line for the “Nathan’s” Hot Dog Stand. I sat there and watched the line NOT move for 20 minutes after I took this photo and couldn’t believe how much of a waste of time it was. Next year, I hope there will be some food trucks or something other than $18 hot dogs or $20 cardboard pizza. I mean, it’s Vegas for crying out loud; there are food trucks EVERYWHERE.
3. Speaking of lines, I have to say something about the Monorail lines. Never in my life have I ever felt more like livestock being wrangled inside a truck than when I had to ride the Monorail to and from the show.
From what we hear, the taxi line had at least an hour wait minimum and the monorail was the best alternative option. I bet you anything, that more people would be willing to split Helicopter air faire to their hotels next year just so they can avoid this sh*t box Monorail line.
4. This thing!!!! Seriously, I don’t know where to start with this Civic. Just looking at this thing makes me think that I was at a car meet in Kansas or Riverside, CA. I thought SEMA was supposed to be about new products and services and not the hits of the 90s. I’m willing to bet my left nut that this thing had under glow neon and APC taillights but I was too upset after taking this photo to check.
5. The fifth thing on our list is the giant walls that vendors were allowed to put up. Not only did it make it impossible to see what was on the other side, but these huge walls also helped create huge bottlenecks of traffic that made walking the show very difficult.
6. Speaking of walking, for those who were just too lazy or too hungover to walk the show. SEMA had you covered.
The power scooter bullsh*t brigade was everywhere! Seriously, if you rented one of these at SEMA and didn’t have any sort of disability other than being lazy, I hate you. I can’t even count the amount of times I was ran into, honked at, or yelled at by some lazy douche on one of these things.
7. Seventh on our list is Booth Celebrities. First of all, these guys aren’t really even THAT famous. I have no idea what TV show they are on and I don’t even care. Unfortunately, we seem to be in the minority here and the line to meet these guys was absolutely ridiculous. (See the arrow).
It’s not that we hate celebrities, it’s that we hate what they do to SEMA. They create lines that make it nearly impossible to cross or to get where you need to go. The lines also over shadow neighboring booths, or they just simply block entry. I’m sure if I paid full pop retail for my booth and my neighbor was doing signing sessions from some cable TV star all week long I would have lost my sh*t. Maybe next year, they should just put all the celebrity signing sessions at the top of the South Hall and move that “New Product” section that no one even goes to anyway, out front so people can actually see what’s new.
8. Product reveals. Seriously why even do it guys? Reveal your product on Tuesday morning and let everyone talk about you all week long. Don’t wait till Wednesday or some time midweek to “build buzz.” Half the people in this press conference aren’t even paying attention, they are just standing there to get one picture to post online and move on.
9. Clueless people. I stood in this spot with my camera on my face trying to take a picture of this car for a good 4 minutes before enough people realized what I was trying to do and paused for 5 seconds so I could take my photo. Granted, there are TONS of people at SEMA so getting a photo this far away from a car is going to be difficult; but too many people at SEMA just did not seem to get it. THERE ARE PEOPLE AT THE SHOW THAT NEED TO TAKE PICTURES SO PLEASE BE COURTEOUS. Odds are, you’re going to want to see coverage of the show online somewhere anyway so please let us do our job.
10. The thing we hated THE MOST from SEMA2014 was the giant urinal corral that did not have partitions in between them. Listen guys, SEMA is mostly attended by dudes, and most of these dudes are either drunk, hung-over, angry, or have been on their feet all day. I do not want to have to shield my eyes from a sea of old drunk dongs every time I need to use the restroom. I can’t say for sure (because I was looking up at the ceiling the whole time pretending I was invisible) but I think that a few dudes treated themselves to a urinal peek when I used the restroom earlier that day. That’s worse than a stall-to-stall foot tap!!!
That sums up our list this year. All in all, the show wasn’t that bad, in fact we really enjoyed seeing where the scene and industry is going. The aftermarket scene seems to be the strongest it’s been in ages and we are really excited to see where it’s going.
SEMA is the one show every year that can / will determine the market trends and shape our industry and for that we are pretty stoked that we get to be a part of it every year. Now if they can only do something about the bathroom stalls…..until next year SEMA.